Dec 15 (Reuters) - Residents of the East Coast on Thursday will feel the blast of arctic air that has swept across the U.S. Midwest this week and placed a large swath of the country under a wind chill advisory, officials said.
The arctic air began blowing south from Canada into the Midwest earlier this week, prompting authorities to warn of the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.
A woman whose body was found outside in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Monday has been determined to have died of hypothermia, according to local newspaper the Star Tribune, which cited the medical examiners' office.
RELATED: 10 of the biggest snowstorms in history
10 of the biggest snowstorms in history
10 of the biggest snowstorms in history
10. The Knickerbocker Storm of 1922
View of a car buried in snow during the so-called Knickerbocker Storm, a blizzard that dropped 28 inches of snow on Washington DC, January 28, 1922. The storm, which also affected a large portion of the Eastern Seaboard, was named after the collapse of DC's Knickerbocker Theatre, caused by the excess weight of the snow on the structure's roof, which resulted in 98 deaths and 113 injuries; later, both the building's owner and architect committed suicide.
(Photo by Herbert A. French/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
9. Blizzard Of 1888
A man stands by a snow hut, after the Great Blizzard of 1888, with U.S. Capitol in background, Washington, D.C. According to History.com, 55 inches of snow piled up in some areas and hundreds of people were killed.
(Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)
8. The Blizzard of 1996
The Blizzard of '96 was a severe nor'easter that paralyzed the U.S. East Coast with up to 4 feet of wind-driven snow from January 6 to January 8, 1996. It is one of only two snowstorms to receive the top rating of 5, or 'Extreme', on the Northeast Snowfall Impact Scale. Looking west down Penn. Ave from the US Capitol during the Blizzard.
(Mark Reinstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
7. 2008 Blizzard in Tibet
Journeying outside of the Unites States, Tibet got a surprise storm that lasted 36 hours and dropped upwards of five feet of snow causing buildings to collapse and at least seven deaths.
(Photo credit: Getty)
6. 1959 storm on Mount Shasta
Number six is the storm on Mount Shasta in California in 1959 which unloaded 189 inches of snow on the locals and is considered the largest snowfall from a single storm in North America according to NOAA.
(Photo by Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
2. Blizzard of 1977
At number two is the blizzard of '77 in Buffalo, New York. Powerful and sustained winds created massive snow drifts.
(Photo by Ira Block/National Geographic/Getty Images)
5. Blizzard of 1971
Next is the Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971. It is said the event closed down the Montreal Forum, canceling a Montreal Canadiens hockey game, something that hasn't occurred since the flu epidemic of 1918.
(Photo by Dave Norris/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
4. New England Blizzard of 1978
At number four is the New England Blizzard of 1978. Stalling over New England, this storm struck during the day, dropping over 27 inches of snow and stranding many at schools, businesses and others in their cars.
(Photo by David L Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
3. The Great Snow of 1717
Then there was the Great Snow of 1717 over the New England Area. With five feet of snow already on the ground, around four more fell on top of that creating drifts as tall as 25 feet, burying entire houses.
(Photo via Getty Images)
1. Blizzard of 1967
But the storm to top them all is the Blizzard of 1967. Laying waste to the Midwest, this storm took 76 lives, set the record snowfall for Chicago with 23 inches and was preceded by a severe tornado outbreak with temperatures in the 60's.
(Photo by Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images)
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The blast of arctic air will spread to the East Coast on Thursday, with the National Weather Service forecasting temperatures in New York City around 25 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 4 degrees Celsius).
"The coldest of the arctic air is just now arriving onto the East Coast," meteorologist Patrick Burke of the Weather Prediction Center said in a telephone interview.
As the region cools, temperatures might drop enough in Boston that on Friday it could approach a record low, Burke said. Other areas along the East Coast as far south as Norfolk, Virginia, will also be unusually cold.
Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement he would activate the state's severe cold weather protocol beginning on Thursday evening, directing state officials to work with shelters to bring in homeless people.
Cold temperatures in the Midwest were expected to persist on Thursday, with certain areas from North Dakota to western Pennsylvania under wind chill advisories, Burke said.
The heaviest snowfall in the nation on Thursday will be around the Great Lakes in Michigan where up to 10 inches (25 cm) of snow was expected, and in parts of the U.S. West where a storm is pushing inland from the Pacific Coast, Burke said.
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The Sierra Nevada mountain range in California and the mountains around Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming could receive more than two feet (61 cm) of snow, Burke said.
Rain is expected to douse other parts of the West on Thursday, which has prompted the Weather Service to warn of potential flooding in Northern California and Oregon.
When the storm slammed Portland, Oregon, with heavy snow on Wednesday, it caused traffic accidents and forced the closure of some streets and highways. (Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Catherine Evans)