Forecasters said on Monday that harsh winter conditions, including snowfall, are expected this week as Christmas is celebrated across much of the United States, which could lead to travel delays.
A severe blizzard could hit the Midwest and Great Lakes region, while cold air moving eastward could cause flash freezes, causing temperatures to plummet across the country, according to the National Weather Service.
“It doesn’t look like a good day to travel through the Midwest on Friday,” said Greg Karbin, head of forecasting at the NWS Weather Prediction Center. “It’s definitely going to feel like winter almost from coast to coast.”
He warned that airports and roads from Chicago to the St. Louis areas could be affected from Thursday as the rest of the country struggles with falling temperatures.
The greatest risk exists in the states of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa, as well as in parts of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. According to Karbin, the amount of snow could exceed a foot.
Rain and thunderstorms are possible in the southern states on Thursday, after which temperatures could drop significantly. He added that wind chill temperatures on the Gulf Coast could reach 30 degrees.
“The temperature of wind chill will be low,” he said.
The NWS also warned of “biting to the bone” cold in parts of Washington State across the Northern Plains, including Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.
Parts of Montana could experience temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 C) on Tuesday, according to the NWS.