Temperatures more typical of late December and January, including record-breaking cold, swept across three-quarters of the nation during the past week.
For regions of Texas and the Southeast, the first frost and in some places the first hard freeze of the season occurred as the frigid air plunged into the region.
As the arctic air surged eastward across the Great Lakes, lake-effect snow accumulated to a depth of several feet, shut down travel and stranded thousands.
Relief from the cold is on the way for some of the regions hit hard by winter's early debut.
A developing system in the Gulf of Mexico will direct warmer air into the southern Plains on Friday, where daytime highs in Oklahoma City will inch back into the 60s F after several days of temperatures barely breaking the middle 30s since last weekend.
This system will continue to develop on Saturday, spreading rain, heavy at times, into the southern Plains and driving warmer weather into the Great Lakes allowing daytime highs in Chicago to flirt with 50 degrees for the first time since the beginning of the month.
Sunday will have this system advancing into Tennessee Valley and areas along the Southeast coast. Warmth will ride north up ahead of the heaviest rainfall, sending daytime highs in Washington, D.C., near 60.
Cities stretching from Jacksonville, Florida, to Raleigh, North Carolina, will have the potential for strong thunderstorms and flooding as this system progress towards the East coast.
The start of the workweek will leave many in the Northern states swapping their snow boots and parkas for their ponchos and rain boots as springlike warmth and drenching rains will work into the region.
People from New York City to Boston will have to shed those extra layers, as temperatures climb well into the 60s on Monday. Temperatures may top 70 in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
Cities where extensive lake-effect snows fell, like Buffalo, New York, may experience urban flooding issues from rapid snow melt as temperatures rise and steady rain falls across the area early next week.
However, the warmth will be short-lived in places like Minneapolis and areas of the western Great Lakes as the back edge of the departing system will drag cold air in behind it, changing showers over to snow during the day on Monday.
The cold will return to the Northeast as well on Tuesday, and by the middle of next week, daytime highs will struggle to break the 40-degree mark in the Northeast, while staying below freezing for the Great Lakes and northern Plains.
This particular cold shot will not be as potent as the record-breaking cold experienced by most of the country earlier this month, but many places across the north will have average temperature 10 or so degrees below normal for the end of the November.
Southern portions of the nation will be spared from the brunt of this arctic invasion, but it will remain on noticeably chilly for places as far south as Miami.______________________________
By Chyna Glenn, Meteorologist for AccuWeather.com
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