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AccuWeather RealFeel temps to fall off a cliff as Arctic blast grips Midwest

Renee Duff

Temperatures will plunge to the lowest levels yet this season across the midwestern United States as a mass of Arctic air settles over the region through midweek.

The deep freeze may come as a shock to Midwestern residents who have not experienced an extreme cold snap since Nov. 10-13. During that stretch, single-digit lows were recorded in Minneapolis.

The cold push through midweek will prove to be more intense and even dangerous for people and animals who are outside for long periods of time.

The cold has come rocketing southward out of Canada behind a swath of snow that triggered slippery travel and multi-vehicle accidents across the Midwest at the beginning of the week.

AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jack Boston expects some locations from the eastern Dakotas to Minnesota and northern Wisconsin to remain below zero degrees into Wednesday night. This includes around Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota.

Highs in Minneapolis may just barely get above zero degrees on Tuesday and Wednesday.

To make matters worse, the combination of the frigid air, wind and other factors will result in AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures 10-30 degrees below zero across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest through Wednesday.

People spending any length of time outdoors will need to make sure they are properly dressed for such frigid conditions.

Knowing how to spot cold-weather dangers, such as frostbite and hypothermia, is critical when spending time outdoors in these sorts of punishing cold snaps.

Experts also urge pet owners to ensure that pets are not kept outside too long and outdoor animals have proper shelter and warmth during this extended period of extreme cold.

The air will lose a bit of its sting as it surges farther south and east through midweek, but it may be every bit as shocking for people across the Ohio Valley and Northeast to step outside following a mild beginning to the week.

"By Wednesday, actual high temperatures are forecast to range from the subzero and single digits in northern Minnesota to the upper 30s in the lower Ohio Valley," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said.

"Even people along the central Gulf coast will feel some chill with highs in the upper 50s to near 60 on Wednesday," he added.

The frigid air pouring over the milder and unfrozen Great Lakes will trigger lake-effect snow showers and squalls downstream.

A general 3-6 inches of snow is forecast with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 14 inches in the steadiest and most prolonged bands.

Outside of the lake-effect snow areas, forecasters do not expect any significant snowstorms to move into the Midwest amid the deep freeze.

From Wednesday night to Thursday night, a weak system may bring a light to moderate accumulation of snow across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

Temperatures will briefly rebound as this system passes by, but meteorologists expect the relief from the harsh cold to be short-lived.

Yet another surge of cold air is forecast to plunge southward Friday into Saturday.

Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.