Wintry weather has overspread much of the country. Seasonably cold temperatures and snow expanded in recent days, leaving more than 45% of the continental U.S. snow covered. Colder air poised just to our north is due to spill across the Midwest Tuesday night, sending temps as low as the single digits in parts of the metro area by Wednesday morning. This intrusion of polar air will be short lived. By Thursday, a major pattern shift begins that is expected to last through the Christmas holiday. Persistent southwest winds are to deliver temperatures more typical of early to mid November. As exceptional as a multi-day string of 50-degree temperatures are for late December, forecasts also suggest the next 7 to 10 days will feature above normal sunshine and little or no precipitation. Medium range forecasts hint that our weather may return closer to normal toward the end of the month.