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Arctic Blast Bears Down on Plains and Central U.S.

Frigid New Year’s Eve Could Be On the Way 0:25

An arctic blast bearing down on much of the U.S. was already causing problems on the roads and in the skies Monday. Two Colorado state troopers were hurt in accidents on Interstate 25 as powdery snow hit icy roads, and there were delays and cancellations out of Denver International Airport.

Forecasters say temperatures will be well below average for parts of the Plains and the West later in the week — in some places plunging 45 degrees below usual. Temperatures in Minneapolis were in the single digits Monday, compared to average highs of around 25 degrees for this time of the year, Weather Channel meteorologist Roy Lucksinger said. Tuesday, the mercury isn't expected to get above 5 degrees in snow-coated Denver, where it's usually around 43 degrees.

The surge of freezing air should overtake almost all the western and central U.S. by Tuesday, Lucksinger said. "Folks need to make sure to take warm clothing, scarves and things to cover their faces," he said. "If you’re traveling, it's good to keep water or rations if something were to happen to your car."

By later in the week, even Las Vegas could see snow, something that hasn't happened since 2008. "Folks are not going to be sitting poolside," Lucksinger said.

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— F. Brinley Bruton and Tracy Connor