The Midwest and the East are expecting sudden drops in temperatures later this week thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend.
People in the Upper Midwest and Rockies already woke up to frigid temperatures on Tuesday, with heavy snow blanketing some areas, while parts of the country have to wait until later this week for their share of the icy weather, according to The Associated Press.
More than 2 feet of snow blanked parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and more was on the way before the front was expected to exit Wednesday. Northern Wisconsin also got as much as 18 inches of snow, and parts of central Minnesota more than 16.
In Colorado, some residents were shoveling out from under tumbleweeds rather than snow. Winds of up to 60 mph caused tumbleweeds to pile up several feet high in and around Colorado Springs and Pueblo as the storm system moved into the region Monday.
The National Weather Service called for snow to taper Wednesday, except for more lake-effect snow mostly over Michigan.
Unseasonable cold was far more widespread, with the cold air in the Rockies and Midwest spilling into the Pacific Northwest. The chill was aiming for the Appalachians and mid-South by Wednesday morning and the East Coast by Thursday.
In the Texas Panhandle temperatures plunged, from 70 degrees into the teens overnight. Oklahoma City went from a high of 80 degrees Monday to a low of 30 Tuesday morning.
In the Dakotas, wind chills made it feel like 20 below in some places. That was good news for Action Mechanical Inc. of Rapid City, South Dakota, which was doing a booming heating and ventilation business.
In Denver, temperatures in the teens prompted officials to move a Veteran's Day ceremony indoors.
Meteorologists are adamant the weather isn't because of the polar vortex, a giant upper air pattern that normally pens in cold air in the Arctic in the winter. Instead, they say it's pushed in by a different weather phenomenon more related to the remnants of a powerful typhoon.
"The polar vortex itself has not moved south. It's still in the Arctic where it always is," said National Weather Service spokeswoman Susan Buchanan.
Whatever the case, the cold is expected to linger. Some regions will go from record warm to record cold in just two days, with temperatures dropping 15 to 20 degrees below normal on the East Coast Friday and Saturday. Freezing temperatures will likely dip as far south as Atlanta on Friday, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground.
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