NEWS
03/01/2018 13:01 SAST | Updated 03/01/2018 13:01 SAST

US Winter Storm Could Shatter All-Time Cold Temperature Records

"It will be massive,” a forecaster wrote on Twitter.

An enormous winter storm is set to hit the entire East Coast of the United States later this week, bringing frigid temperatures and heavy snow to parts of the country that rarely see such weather.

The National Weather Service has warned that a "bomb cyclone" will bring "bitterly cold temperatures" to as far south as the Florida panhandle, affecting the coast all the way up to Maine.

"Reinforcing shots of arctic air will continue across much of the Eastern half of the country through this week keeping afternoon highs as much as 10 to 20 degrees below normal," the agency said on Tuesday.

The Washington Post notes the storm will "in many ways resemble a winter hurricane" and said the event could be one of the region's most intense in decades.

"Bomb cyclones" form when a weather system rapidly drops in pressure and quickly intensifies ― a process called bombogenesis, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association.

The National Weather Service's local outposts released a slew of winter weather warnings beginning Wednesday, with forecasters warning of near-blizzard conditions in Boston, freezing rain in Charleston, South Carolina, northern Florida and southern Georgia, and snow near Jacksonville, Florida. An area stretching from north Florida to southeastern North Carolina is at risk of ice accumulations of one-tenth to one-quarter inch through Wednesday.

The entire state of Maine is susceptible to blizzard conditions, The Weather Channel notes, as are parts of southern New Hampshire and eastern Long Island.

Winds in some areas are expected to blow between 30 and 50 miles per hour, but will be much stronger over the ocean, where they'll approach hurricane force.

Mashable's Andrew Freedman notes the storm could pull bitterly cold air down from the North Pole to parts of the Eastern Seaboard. Temperatures could drop low enough to shatter some records, Freedman writes:

"The cold weather that will result is going to be more frigid than anything that residents of the Midwest and East Coast have experienced so far during what has been an unusually intense and long-lasting cold snap. Instead of breaking daily temperature records, as dozens of cities have been, all-time cold temperature records will be threatened on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday."

The weather should warm up by early next week, but the ongoing frigid temperatures could make the start of 2018 one of the coldest on record.