AccuWeather Global Weather Center – In the wake of a disruptive winter storm expected to track across portions of the Plains and Midwest, a powerful Arctic front will surge southward from Canada, ushering in the coldest air of the season for some.

So far this winter, most people across the northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes have been able to save a few extra dollars on heating costs thanks to the mild weather, but the upcoming forecast will have some heaters working overtime later this week.

Early Wednesday morning, the Arctic air will blast south of the Canadian border into the Plains. Places like Grand Forks and Fargo, North Dakota, could have the mercury drop as much as 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of hours.

Cold Air Coming: Portions of the Dakotas and Minnesota may not have thermometers climb above zero degrees Thursday afternoon.

Along with the massive drop in temperatures, snow showers and a strong north wind could produce blizzard conditions across the northern Plains Wednesday.

As the cold air mass continues to surge southward, it will join forces with a separate storm system Wednesday night in the Midwest, helping to inject a fresh shot of cold air on the back side.

The combination of these two atmospheric disturbances is expected to bring another round of accumulating snow to places like Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland. As snow continues to fall Thursday morning, school closures and travel delays are possible in those areas.

As the storm slides eastward into the day on Thursday, accumulating snow is expected to track across the interior Northeast.

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