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DENVER (KDVR) — A blast of arctic air is moving into the state on Wednesday and Denver’s temperatures are expected to drop more than 40 degrees.

Wednesday the high is expected to climb to 43 degrees in Denver but the frigid cold moves in around 5 p.m., which is when snowfall is expected to begin.

The Pinpoint Weather team is forecasting a total of 1 to 5 inches of snow in the Denver area while temperatures will plummet to around or below zero overnight.

Highs on Thursday are around zero degrees with snow expected to taper off in the morning and overnight lows are forecast in the teens below zero. The lowest recorded high for Dec. 22 is minus 5 degrees so there’s a chance Denver sets a new record.

Dangers of extreme cold

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “the wind chill temperature is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by wind and cold and is to give you an approximation of how cold the air feels on your body.”

Wind chill chart (Graphic credit: NOAA)

Pinpoint Weather Meteorologist Chris Tomer said there are brief gusts expected at the front of the arctic blast when it arrives on Wednesday. He said there will be possible gusts of 30 to 50 mph around 5 p.m. when the front moves in.

Tomer said the winds are expected to settle once the front moves into the Denver metro area. However, those gusty winds could possibly cause frostbite after exposure to the low temperatures. It is recommended to cover exposed skin and layer up to limit the impact of bitterly cold wind chills. 

Forecast wind chill temps (Graphic credit: National Weather Service)

Protect your pets in the frigid temps

While humans are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, animals are in danger as well and it is suggested to limit your pet’s time outside with extremely low temperatures.

If you do need to take them out, it’s recommended to put a sweater or coat on them with socks or some sort of cover for their paws.