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Midwest, Eastern U.S. Chilled By Season's First Cold Snap

UPDATED 5:45 PM CDT, October 6, 2012

UPDATED By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen

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A cold front with Canadian roots is blasting its way off the Eastern Seaboard tonight, delivering the fall season's first significant cold snap all the way to the Atlantic beaches this weekend. Large stretches of the central Plains, Middle Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes into the Ohio Valley will shiver under sub-freezing temperatures likely to shut down the growing season for many.

An expansive dome of high pressure sinking into the central and southern Plains tonight is combining with an unusually strong Canadian cold front, drawing the coldest temperatures thus far of the season into the Midwest and Great Lakes. Even more, Saturday's highs in the 70s and 80s along the bustling Interstate 95 corridor will be a distant memory, instead replaced by well-below average 40s and 50s for the extended Columbus holiday weekend.

The crux of the dry, Canadian cold air has already been felt across the Plains and Midwest today. Many eastern Colorado and western Nebraska and Kansas residents struggled to climb above the freezing mark, while the mercury wasn't able to rise out of the 40s from Kansas City, Mo., to St. Louis, as well as from Minneapolis to Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis.

Unfortunately, these already frosty temperatures will tumble tonight under the perfect recipe of a clear sky and light winds, allowing today's little bit of warmth to escape freely back into the atmosphere. Widespread 20s will be mixed in with a few middle and upper teens from Denver to Green Bay, Wis., while sub-freezing temperatures will make a run at cities such as Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis, Mo., and Milwaukee to Detroit.

Frosty lower and middle 30s will settle as far south as the Texas Panhandle and as far east as western New England. Widespread Hard Freeze Warnings, Freeze Warnings and Frost Advisories are in place for much of the central and southern Plains, extending into the Great Lakes tonight and Sunday night, while a Freeze Watch has been posted from Indiana to West Virginia and the western Maryland Panhandle for Sunday night and early Monday.

These temperatures will be cold enough to kill unprotected outdoor plants, as well as crops. It's best to bring your plants inside or cover them with a blanket, avoiding or minimizing their exposure to cold. In addition, do not forget to bring pets into the house tonight and Sunday night.

The first significant cold snap for the Central and Eastern U.S. won't last long, leaving just as quickly as it arrived by early-to-mid next week. A further northward storm track along the northern U.S. and Canada border will push warmer southerly air all the way into the Midwest on Monday and Tuesday, where 60s and very low 70s will be slightly above normal for early October.

Just like the Midwest, places such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Philadelphia to Boston will see their temperatures warm briefly back above normal into the 60s and lower 70s by Wednesday.

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