Editor’s Note: This forecast has since been updated. Click here for the latest on the dangerous cold moving into Middle Tennessee.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — You have two days to prepare before the brutal and dangerously cold temperatures arrive in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky THURSDAY EVENING. We can expect temperatures to stay sub-freezing for four consecutive days. There could be some snow in the transition, but the dangerous cold is the biggest concern.

A Wind Chill Watch will go into effect Thursday evening through Friday afternoon for wind chills as lows as -15° Friday morning. The dangerously cold wind chills could result in hypothermia or frostbite if precautions are not taken. Wind chills will stay below zero overnight Friday night through Saturday morning.

Ahead of the front on Thursday, we are expecting rain. That rain will transition to snow as the front passes Thursday evening, roughly in the 6-8 pm time period for Nashville (an hour sooner west, an hour later east. We expect a dramatic 20 to 30 degree temperature drop over 1-2 hours. If it is still raining when that drop occurs, ice will form quickly on the roadways. We expect about 1/2″ of snow in most areas with up to an inch in eastern and northern areas.

By Friday morning we should see the actual temperatures in the single digits from around 3° to 9° for lows with wind chills -10 to -15. This is dangerous cold for anyone caught outdoors unprepared.

Forecast for actual temperatures Friday morning

The big blast of cold air is on the move from the Arctic Circle and the Canadian province of British Columbia. Temperatures in the Northern Plains are already well below zero, but as the stronger Arctic push enters the U.S., temperatures will take a bigger dive for most of the country by Friday, Dec. 23.

This significant change in the jet stream will send temperatures to the coldest we’ve seen since February 2021. Records will be in the ballpark, especially Friday.

Wind Gusts

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

On Saturday, Dec. 24, some clouds linger but still very cold. Morning lows in the single digits (possibly colder if there is a snowpack on the ground), and highs in the teens and 20s. On Sunday, Dec. 25, expect single-digit to low teens for morning temperatures, reaching the low to mid 20s for highs.

As mentioned above, we may not make it above freezing until Monday, Dec. 26, which would put us below freezing for almost 84 hours!

Takeaways & preparation

Even without accumulating snow, this is a DANGEROUS WINTER STORM because of how cold air temperatures will reach (and the even more brutal wind chill values). If you have travel plans on Thursday through Christmas, have multiple backup plans ready to use if roads are closed due to snow or flights are changed.

As far as preparation, you must have plenty of items to keep warm and to stay inside during this bitter cold. This includes keeping stocked on ready-to-eat food items (limited to no prep needed), layers of clothing in the event of a power loss, blankets, flashlights, etc. Click here for more information about what you can have in an emergency kit.