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And no, I'm not talking about the Cain family's car ride home tonight. A potent blast of Arctic air is making its way across the United States right now, and will envelop the Midwest from New Mexico to the Canadian border in an early season multi-wave cold snap.

The Setup

Right now, there are two cold fronts moving across the central part of the country. The first is a small cold front extending off a low pressure center over northeastern Kansas, and the second is the big cold front extending off a low pressure center up over northern Canada.

That westernmost cold front, in addition to dropping 3-7 inches of snow from NM to MI, is responsible bringing the bulk of the cold air down to the States. Temperatures over parts of interior Canada are well below zero, with readings in Nunavut dipping to -30 to -40. This Arctic air will continue to move south as high pressure builds in and another cold front moves through next week.

How cold it gets will depend on location and what day, but there will be subzero temperatures on the records by next weekend for sure. It appears that the cold snap will occur in two waves -- the first coming tomorrow night and lasting through Tuesday night, and the second starting Thursday night and lasting into Saturday. The second one will be the worst, but it'll still be downright cold all week.

In the following maps, purple areas represent single digit temperatures, with colder colors (appropriately) representing colder temperatures.

Deep Freeze #1...Sunday Night through Tuesday Night

Sunday Night:


Monday Night:


Tuesday Night:

Deep Freeze #2...Thursday Night through Friday Night

Thursday Night:


Friday Night:

Big City Forecasts

Bismarck ND
Fargo ND
Int'l Falls MN
Sun Night: 2
Monday:  14
Mon Night: 4
Tuesday: 28
Tues Night: 18
Wednesday: 26
Weds Night: 8
Thursday: 13
Thurs Night: -2
Friday: 3
Friday Night: 22
Sun Night: 6
Monday:  17
Mon Night: 2
Tuesday: 23
Tues Night: 18
Wednesday: 28
Weds Night: 11
Thursday: 17
Thurs Night: 3
Friday: 14
Friday Night: 5
Sun Night: 2
Monday:  13
Mon Night: -3
Tuesday: 20
Tues Night: 14
Wednesday: 23
Weds Night: 6
Thursday: 12
Thurs Night: 0
Friday: 11
Friday Night: 1
Minneapolis MN
Sioux Falls SD
Des Moines IA
Sun Night: 20
Monday:  25
Mon Night: 8
Tuesday: 21
Tues Night: 13
Wednesday: 27
Weds Night: 16
Thursday: 24
Thurs Night: 9
Friday: 17
Friday Night: 9
Sun Night: 15
Monday:  21
Mon Night: 2
Tuesday: 19
Tues Night: 13
Wednesday: 31
Weds Night: 16
Thursday: 22
Thurs Night: 3
Friday: 15
Friday Night: 6
Sun Night: 19
Monday:  29
Mon Night: 12
Tuesday: 25
Tues Night: 13
Wednesday: 31
Weds Night: 18
Thursday: 31
Thurs Night: 16
Friday: 23
Friday Night: 9
Madison WI
Omaha NE
Chicago IL
Sun Night: 23
Monday:  34
Mon Night: 21
Tuesday: 29
Tues Night: 17
Wednesday: 30
Weds Night: 18
Thursday: 30
Thurs Night: 17
Friday: 23
Friday Night: 9
Sun Night: 11
Monday:  25
Mon Night: 4
Tuesday: 19
Tues Night: 11
Wednesday: 30
Weds Night: 12
Thursday: 28
Thurs Night: 10
Friday: 21
Friday Night: 10
Sun Night: 34
Monday:  38
Mon Night: 31
Tuesday: 35
Tues Night: 27
Wednesday: 34
Weds Night: 26
Thursday: 34
Thurs Night: 25
Friday: 30
Friday Night: 16
Denver CO
Casper WY
Glasgow MT
Sun Night: 4
Monday:  16
Mon Night: 5
Tuesday: 33
Tues Night: 16
Wednesday: 42
Weds Night: 22
Thursday: 38
Thurs Night: 15
Friday: 30
Friday Night: 14
Sun Night: -3
Monday:  16
Mon Night: 0
Tuesday: 26
Tues Night: 14
Wednesday: 35
Weds Night: 15
Thursday: 4
Thurs Night: 26
Friday: 10
Friday Night: 35
Sun Night: -6
Monday:  16
Mon Night: 10
Tuesday: 31
Tues Night: 13
Wednesday: 22
Weds Night: 1
Thursday: 11
Thurs Night: -4
Friday: 12
Friday Night: 4

The wind chill will make it feel 5-15 degrees colder in many of these locations after the cold front passes through later in the week.

Keep yourself warm and take your cold weather precautions, whatever they may be. Here are some tips (WARNING: PDF Document) from the National Institute for Health on how to keep yourself safe if you're out in the cold weather .

Disclaimer: All forecasts and maps are from the NWS.

10:11 PM PT: The latest model runs have eliminated the snow for next weekend (that I mentioned in the second comment below). There's a large amount of uncertainty this far out, so still keep an eye on the weather.

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