It'll be cold, but not the life-threatening cold of last week when subzero temperatures enveloped much of the country and contributed to at least a dozen deaths.
Temperatures will start falling over the weekend into Monday, said Bob McMahon, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. The cold is expected to persist until Thursday, just in time for a second blast of frigid air to move in and keep temperatures about 10 degrees below average, he said.
"We get these periods of below-normal temperatures in the winter. It's not abnormally cold, it's not a record cold but it is colder than normal," McMahon said Friday. "People just need to be aware of that and take normal precautions."
The freeze will start moderately Saturday in Pennsylvania and states northward. Highs will generally range from the teens to lower 20s, and the cold spell could extend as far south as the Gulf states.
But while states such as Florida and Texas will see temperatures in the 60s near 70 by Monday, the northern and northeastern states won't see highs above the single digits. In parts of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, highs might not even top zero.
Lows are expected to remain in the subzero range on Tuesday night. While New England could see highs of about 20 on Wednesday, the upper Midwest probably won't see temperatures above the teens.
That cold front is expected to be gone by Thursday. However, meteorologists predict it'll be followed by another blast of cold air pushing down from Canada on Friday or Saturday
Next week's freeze could be accompanied by some snow, but it'd mainly be lake-effect snow in the Great Lakes areas as the colder air blows over the warmer water, McMahon said.
"As far as exact amounts of snow it's a little too hard to say right now," McMahon said. "There are setups where we can pick up a couple of inches of snow per day if not more - enough to provide problems with travel."
He said winds weren't expected to be a serious factor, but at such low temperatures even a mild wind would bring wind chill.