Rare freezing temperatures, snow for Southeast coast; ‘bomb cyclone’ to hit New England hardest

DENVER -- Colorado's temperatures are warming as cold air spreads east.

A winter storm will hit Wednesday on coastal Georgia and South Carolina, promising scenes of palm trees and live oaks coated in ice and snow.

Freeze warnings are in place Tuesday night from Florida to the Carolinas.

Shivering residents late Tuesday received warnings and updates on government and school closings.

One tweet from South Carolina transportation officials summed up how rare the weather was for the region.

"Snow and freezing rain are predicted to move up SC's entire coast on Wednesday. SCDOT encourages anyone who must drive to use extreme caution. Also be extra careful around snow plows and trucks spreading sand and salt."

The East's big chill turned a Pensacola, Florida, fountain into an ice sculpture and contributed to a multivehicle crash near Buffalo, New York, that officials said killed one person.

Temperatures in much of the country will get even more miserable.

Minneapolis and much of Minnesota will have some of the coldest air with highs below zero late this week.

You know it's bad when even Dallas can't get above freezing. In fact, in all 50 states -- including Hawaii -- at least one place recorded a temperature below 32 degrees on Tuesday.

Wednesday into Thursday, computer modeling indicates that "bombogenesis," or rapid intensification, will occur off the East Coast.

This is a meteorological term that describes an area of low pressure in the midlatitudes that drops at least 1 millabar per hour in a 24-hour span -- creating what is known as a "bomb cyclone."

In this case, this is a classic Nor'easter and a strong one. A Nor'easter is a name given to a storm that has its strongest wind blowing from the northeast.

Most of the forecast models keep this low-pressure system offshore enough that the most substantial snow and strongest winds will remain out at sea, with the exception of New England, where 6-12 inches of snow could fall on Thursday, with winds gusting at 30 to 60 mph.

This Nor'easter will help usher in another round of blustery single-digit temperatures to the northeast by the weekend.