A bitter and potentially deadly blast of arctic air is continuing to charge its way across the U.S., dropping wind chills to as low as between negative 50 and negative 70 degrees across the northern Plains, and 30 below zero in the Midwest, triggering rare Hard Freeze Warnings along the Gulf Coast, and helping to fuel a monster blizzard that will bring those frigid temperature across the Great Lakes and into the Northeast.

"Behind this storm is where it's cold," FOX Weather meteorologist Britta Merwin said. "Look at Denver right now. A feels-like temperature of negative 34 degrees. So, if you're waking up in Chicago at 27 (degrees) and feeling like it's cold, there's a whole new reality coming your way. Behind this cold front, it gets dangerous."

The dangerously cold arctic air began its week-long journey by surging to the south out of Canada last weekend, dropping low temperatures Monday morning to negative 20 degrees and lower across northern Montana.

It was a preview of what was to come as the cold air spread across America's heartland to the East Coast.

Wind Chill Warnings are in effect for most of the northern and central Plains, Midwest, parts of the inland Northwest, South Texas, including Houston, and into Florida

So far, over 150 million Americans are under various cold temperature alerts, with the worst of the weather arriving before Christmas.

It's not only the record-breaking cold temperatures coming with the arctic front, but also a period of snow and strong winds that has reached Oklahoma and as far east as Michigan on Thursday.

Winds gusted to more than 30 mph, creating extremely hazardous travel conditions from Kansas to Wisconsin.

South goes into the Deep Freeze

After spending days freezing the Midwest, the bitter blast of cold air will surge south and east Friday. That will send temperatures tumbling from the southern Plains to the Southeast.

Morning low temperatures Friday morning are expected in the teens and single digits as far south as Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee, according to the FOX Forecast Center, while temperatures will remain in the teens from Central Texas to Georgia.

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport may dip below 10 degrees Friday - likely its coldest December temperature since 1989. Nashville's expected low of around 10 degrees would be its coldest December reading since 2010. Houston will drop to around 17 degrees Friday morning and struggle to reach the freezing mark during the day.

"Areas like Oklahoma, Arkansas, northern Texas and northern Louisiana, and the Mississippi Delta - you have to be prepared for the cold as well as potential power outages as the wind gusts will be quite strong along with the potential for a freeze," said FOX Meteorologist Steve Bender.

Hard Freeze alerts are now in effect for much of the South - even touching the Gulf Coast shores.

The chill will likely be some of the coldest readings in at least five years for many areas east of the Mississippi River, and Wind Chill Advisories extended into the Gulf Coast. For parts of North Texas and Oklahoma, the Wind Chill alerts are the first issued in the area in 11 years.

Several other locations across the South may not get out of the teens or 20s on Friday, setting records for lowest maximum temperatures.

The arctic air will remain entrenched through the weekend - even reaching into Florida on Saturday, where low temperatures will drop to near-freezing as far south as Orlando by Christmas morning.

Even South Florida will be waking up to temperatures in the 40s.

Dangerous chill moves into Great Lakes, parts of Northeast

Meanwhile, heavy snow, fueled by moisture from the Great Lakes, has buried portions of the Midwest with blizzard conditions. The FOX Forecast Center said blizzard conditions have been reported in the Plains and Great Lakes, creating devastating holiday travel impacts. Several airlines are allowing travelers to change flight plans ahead of the storm.

According to the FOX Forecast Center, widespread 60-plus-mph wind gusts are likely around the Great Lakes region, and there is the potential for gusts even reaching as high as 80 mph as the arctic cold front passes through the Northeast on Friday or Friday night, which would likely lead to tree damage and cause numerous power outages.

This would be dangerous with the bitterly cold temperatures and wind chills arriving Friday night and continuing through Christmas weekend.

High temperatures Saturday are forecast to only reach the single digits to teens across the Great Lakes region, with teens and 20s expected in the interior Northeast.