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Before Christmas, the United States will be hit by a devastating storm and arctic epidemic.

A powerful storm is set to develop in the Midwest and Great Lakes late this week. Few areas outside California and the Southwest United States will escape a surge of arctic air. Some places could see subzero temperatures, wind chills as low as minus-55 near Canadian border. Storm system will tap into jet stream energy, ballooning into a major mid-latitude cyclone. System will drag a strip of warmth up the Eastern Seaboard, leading to mostly rain. Cold air crashing south on its backside will support swath of heavy snow and strong winds.