Sustainability Climate Change

Much of the US will experience the coldest Christmas in decades 

A blast of Arctic air will bring push temperatures 20 to 50 degrees below normal December temperatures.

Story at a glance

  • A major storm system is expected to hit most of the United States this week just in time for the Christmas holiday.  

  • The storm will also bring freezing and subzero temperatures to the western, central and northeastern parts of the country.

  •  The cold front could reach as far south as Texas and Florida.  

A massive snowstorm right before Christmas will cause temperatures to plummet to frigid lows across most of the U.S.  

The National Weather Service predicted that a major storm system will bring gusty winds and blizzard conditions to most of the Midwest and Great Lakes area starting on Wednesday and lasting until Friday.  

Along with the storms, a strong jet stream of freezing air originating from the Arctic will move over the center of the country, bringing bone-chilling temperatures with it.  

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Forecasters predict states from the Rockies to the Plains, to the East coast and the South, will be hit with subfreezing, and in some cases subzero, temperatures this holiday.  

Temperatures are expected to fall between 25 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit below average December temperatures, according to AccuWeather meteorologists.  

Denver is expected to suffer the sharpest temperature changes of any major U.S. city. 

While Tuesday’s temperatures in the Mile High City were in the low 50s, the area will see the worst cold snap in 30 years beginning late Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service.  

After the cold front hits, wind chills across Colorado could drop to the minus 20s to minus 50s degrees Fahrenheit. A life-threatening wind chill of up to minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit will affect the eastern part of the state, most of which is under a wind-chill watch.  

Wind gusts could reach as high as 50 to 60 miles per hour in northern Texas through southern Illinois toward the end of the week, increasing the risk of power outages are traffic collisions, according to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter.  

Gusty winds will reach the Northeast by late Friday.  

Forecasters are especially worried over the cold air and wintry weather‘s effect on Texas’s power grid, which has struggled to keep the lights and heat on during past storms.  

While forecasters don’t think the cold wave will be as long-lasting or intense as the deadly freeze the state experienced last February, the upcoming cold will still be “significant” for Texas. 

“Temperature at night might fall to near zero or even below zero in Amarillo and 5-10 degrees in the Dallas Metroplex,” said Porter, adding that the city’s northern and western suburbs will see the lowest temperatures.  

“The extreme cold is expected to once again be a test of resiliency of the Texas electrical grid given expected surges in energy demand as people heat their homes and businesses. It may be the greatest test of the electrical grid since the historic 2021 cold outbreak.” 

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