Forecasters say a severe pressure drop will lead to an explosive winter storm along the eastern US, and is already bringing snow to Florida.
The US is currently on its 10th day of record-breaking frigid temperatures which began around Christmas.
But the predicted new storm has led meteorologists to deploy a new term – bomb cyclone.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned that “Arctic air mass will remain entrenched over the eastern two thirds of the country through the end of the week”.
“Very cold temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills expected,” the NWS added.
A “bomb cyclone” or “weather bomb” is an unofficial term for what is known as explosive cyclogenesis, according to BBC Weather.
This occurs when the central pressure of a low pressure system falls by 24 millibars in 24 hours and can result in violent winds developing around the system.
The winds can be strong enough to bring down trees and cause structural damage.
The coming storm, the Washington Post adds, will “in many ways resemble a winter hurricane” which could be the eastern US’s most intense in decades.
It comes as the average temperature across the continental US hovered around 9.1F (-12.7C) on Tuesday morning, according to CBS News.
On Thursday and Friday, the major storm is expected to develop along the eastern seaboard of the US, bringing strong winds, rain, sleet and snow, according to BBC Weather.
The storm is forecast to undergo rapid cyclogenesis over the Atlantic Ocean, and current projections show areas north of New York as having the highest risk of significant impacts from strong winds and heavy snow.
Major north-eastern cities such as Boston are at risk of blizzards, and it is expected to cause disruption at air travel hubs with power outages also possible.
In the US South, freezing rain and sleet may reach as far down as Orlando, where agricultural officials say cold-sensitive crops such as citrus and strawberries are threatened.
Parts of Florida, including the northern city of Tallahassee, have already seen their first snow settling in decades.
Excited residents have been snapping photos of themselves playing in the snow, and school is cancelled in much of the state. (Courtesy BBC)