Get ready to pull out your winter coats early as cold air prepares to blast large swaths of the country this week and next.
A pair of cold fronts are threatening a large part of the Midwest and Northeast with significantly colder than normal temperatures, a reminder that winter is very much on its way, AccuWeather's senior meteorologist Paul Walker told Travel + Leisure on Thursday.
Parts of the midwest were already seeing the results of the first cold blast on Thursday with temperatures plunging into the upper 20s. While the normal high for Minneapolis this time of year, for example, is 45 degrees, Walker said the Twin Cities will see a high of about 28 degrees on Thursday.
And in Chicago, there was a high of 31 degrees — far below the normal high of 51 for this time of year.
“They’re all really feeling it in the northern plains right now down into the central plains,” Walker said, adding: “It’s getting into that time of year where winter is approaching rapidly.”
Walker said the Midwest will get a bit of a reprieve over the weekend, but then be plunged back into bitter cold temperatures by early next week. Minneapolis is looking at highs in the teens on Monday, and the Windy City will see highs in the upper 20s for the start of the work week and could even see a few inches of snow.
As the cold fronts move east, they get a bit less intense. Walker said Boston, as an example, should expect a high of about 41 on Friday and temperatures in the mid-30s by Wednesday of next week. Normal for this time of year is in the low 50s, a much more comfortable temperature for fall activities like apple picking.
And parts of the interior of New England like Maine may even see more than six inches of snow before the storm finally moves out on Friday night, according to Fox News.
This type of cold blast is somewhat typical for this time of year as Walker said the jet stream, which tends to carry cold air above it, starts pushing downward.
“The origin of this cold mass is actually up in Western Canada, up in the Yukon. It is working its way eastward,” he said. “The cold air pulls up and it just comes down in waves, separated by these storm systems… This time of year we’re seeing the jet stream starting to move further and further south.”
But while you may have to bundle up, there are still plenty of fun cold-weather activities to be had like checking out a rooftop bar that is prepared for cooler weather. And if all else fails, plan that last-minute beach vacation you’ve been dreaming of.