Days of snow, thunderstorms and severe weather are set to come to an end Thursday, but the storm's exit is forecast to pave the way for Arctic air to bring a brutal cold front, with sub-zero wind chills plunging millions of people into a deep freeze.
Heavy rain Thursday morning will taper off to showers and thunderstorms with a few marginally severe storms capable of damaging winds possible across the Southeast. The storm system will rapidly move off the northeast coast so Atlanta, Washington, New York and Boston will all dry out after lunchtime. In Chicago, light snow also tapers off by the lunch hour.
Additional rainfall totals will be up to 0.5 inches from Florida to the Mid-Atlantic.
The heaviest snowfall totals still to come will be 3-6 inches downwind of the Great Lakes.
As this storm moves out, the big story becomes the Arctic cold air moving in.
The National Weather Service issued wind chill alerts Thursday morning for about 14 million people from the northern Plains to parts of the Midwest, where wind chills were forecast to be as cold as 45 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The cold Arctic air will plague the northern Plains and upper Midwest Thursday where highs will be 15-30 degrees F below average.
By Friday, the cold air spills east. This Arctic front is set to drop temperatures 20-40 degrees F in 24 hours, and usher in what will likely be the coldest air of the season for Chicago and Boston.