People are windblown as they walk near the frozen reflecting pool in front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 7, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Washington area is experiencing heavy winds with temperatures in the teens.
Mark Wilson

More extreme winter weather set to chill the nation

Bundle up this weekend — or better yet, stay indoors altogether. Extreme winter weather spread across the nation this week, and it’s not going away anytime soon. Another cold and stormy winter weather pattern is on its way, bringing more Arctic temperatures, ice, sleet, and snow for large parts of the country.

This week, much of the nation experienced Arctic-cold temperatures that are expected to last into early next week for at least the eastern half of the country. Parts of the Upper Midwest and northern Plains may begin to thaw by mid to late next week, but areas from New England to the Gulf Coast are still likely to see below-average temperatures through the week.

And here’s an out-of-this-world occurrence: Temperatures in parts of the country on Thursday were colder than temperatures on Mars. According to weather data from NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover, the red planet reached a high of 17.6 degrees Fahrenheit earlier this week — making parts of Mars around 10 degrees warmer than some American cities, including as Chicago, Detroit, and Green Bay, Wisconsin, according to The Guardian.

Last Wednesday was also the coldest day of winter so far for an estimated 200 million people across America, according to NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez. Windchills in some cities dropped as low as fifty below zero. 

Though there will be a brief thaw, don’t get too excited — signs point to more arctic air returning in late January to most of the country once again.

A new weather pattern is expected to bring freezing rain and sleet to large swaths of the country this weekend and into early next week, including parts of the South, the Ohio Valley, the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. The Weather Channel explained that the new winter storm is caused by a cold air mass colliding with moisture to cause precipitation, which could be in the form of snow, sleet, or freezing rain.

On Saturday and Sunday, freezing rain and possible snow is expected around the Gulf of Mexico and Southwest Texas. Light icing may be possible in many cities across Texas as well, including Austin, San Antonio, Dallas, and San Angelo.

After hitting the South, the weather pattern will move north and east towards the Missouri Valley, Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic on Sunday and Monday, bringing ice and snow to the middle parts of the country, stretching from eastern Oklahoma to the Mid-Atlantic, possibly near Washington D.C.

Heavy snow is not expected for most locations, but light snow is possible from Central Illinois to north central Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Heavy lake-effect snow is likely on Saturday for those surrounding the Great Lakes, possibly one to two feet of snow for areas off of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario — especially southwestern New York state and in the Tug Hill.

And East Coasters won’t be left out: On Monday, the weather pattern will make its way to New York City and New England, bringing a wintry mix and light snow.