Millions of Americans across the country are preparing to face dangerous winter weather his holiday week, including below-freezing temperatures, wind chills, and blizzard conditions, according to CNN.
Reporters said over 30 million people are under winter chill alerts, while major cities are opening more warming centers and shelters ahead of the arctic blast. Seattle is already under a winter storm warning Tuesday (December 20) before the storm moves east, bringing heavy snow to several central and northwestern states. States like Montana, the Dakotas, and most of Minnesota will see highs under zero and the risk of frostbite.
Wind chill, which indicates what the wind feels like, will be one of the most threatening aspects of this nationwide weather event.
“In addition to the brutally cold temperatures, dangerous wind chill values of 35 to 55 degrees below zero are possible into the end of the week across these areas,” according to the Weather Prediction Center. Officials also noted that states like Montana, which borders Canada, may have temperatures dip 15 to 40 degrees below zero.
Chicago will be among the hardest-hit cities, while southern cities, which aren't accustomed to wintry conditions, will see bone-chilling temperatures, as well. Places as far south as Jackson, Mississippi, may get snow flurries. Houston, Atlanta, and even Orlando may get slapped with temperatures under zero.
CNN says this will be the coldest Christmas in nearly 40 years in some Midwestern states. Forecasters also warn about this intense weather system complicating travel plans, which could put the brakes on holiday celebrations with family and loved ones.
“The bottom line is travel will be very dangerous and could be LIFE-THREATENING later this week so be prepared to alter travel plans now!” the National Weather Service in Twin Cities, Minnesota warned residents and travelers.