The National Weather Service is calling for rain today, changing over to snow and possibly sleet after 7 p.m. Accumulations of a half an inch to 2 inches is predicted north of a line from Rome to Canton to Cleveland.
With bitterly cold temperatures and winds between 15 and 25 mph, the main concerns will be slick roadways from snow and black ice. Wind gusts up to 40 mph may fall trees.
Preceded by snow in much of the Midwest, the frigid air will begin today and extend into early next week, funneled as far south as the Gulf Coast. Blame it on a “polar vortex,” as one meteorologist calls it, a counterclockwise-rotating pool of cold, dense air.
“It’s just a large area of very cold air that comes down, forms over the North Pole or polar regions ... usually stays in Canada, but this time it’s going to come all the way into the eastern United States,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Phillip Schumacher in Sioux Falls, S.D.
According to the NWS forecast, rain and a high of 52 will begin the day, mixing and changing over to snow or sleet tonight with a low of 23.
Then the cold air and strong winds settle in. Monday will see a high of 26, with wind chills in the teens or single digits. The overnight low will be 6.
On Tuesday morning, expect even colder temperatures and dangerously low wind chills falling to below 0. Wind chills in the mountains may reach 10 to 15 degrees below 0.
Tuesday will be sunny with a high near 26 and a low of 14. The remainder of the week looks warmer with highs in the 40s and 50s expected.
With such cold weather closing in, experts remind residents to check exterior pipes, insulating those that are exposed. In addition, the use of space heaters during cold weather increases the dangers of a fire. Follow manufacturer instructions when using additional heating sources.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.