Polar Vortex Sends Temperatures Plunging

The first arctic blast of the season has hit mainland United States, but meteorologists are warning of a second, perhaps even colder freeze that is still to come.

Brisk winds picked up speed throughout the night Wednesday across the Chicago area, with gusts reaching up to 30 mph and wind chill values in the single digits.

Parts of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and the Dakotas saw temperatures as low as minus 14 overnight, NBC News reported.

But meteorologists are warning about a second, perhaps even colder freeze that could spread into the East Coast and possibly portions of the South late next week. A shift in a weather system known as the Polar Vortex may be partially to blame, according to forecasters.

Thursday will be mostly cloudy with a few flurries on occasion for another windy and cold day. Highs will be in the low to mid 20s, but will feel like they are in the single digits once factoring in wind chill.

Cloudy, cold, and windy conditions continue Friday. Lake effect snow showers in the Michiana snow belts will fade throughout the day. Temperatures remain in the low to mid 20s with single-digit wind chill values.

Steadier light snow develops just in time for the weekend, beginning late in the afternoon Saturday before moving across the area in the evening, becoming heavier overnight.

Sunday is when several inches of snowfall will be likely. While the storm is days away so amounts will likely change, some parts of the Chicago area could see upwards of 4 to 8 inches.

After a brief break Sunday afternoon, more snow could return in the evening, models show, especially in areas south.

Light snow tapers into flurries Monday morning before a second blast of air is expected to move in, and then another round of snow, later next week.

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