Coldest air of the season slams Northeast, western storm to bring holiday travel mess

Up to 6 inches of heavy rain is possible on the West Coast.

Northeast residents are bundling up Thursday as the coldest air of the season slams the region.

Wind chills plunged Thursday morning to minus 4 degrees in Boston, 5 degrees in New York City, minus 5 degrees in Syracuse and 12 degrees in Pittsburgh.

The cold blast even extends to the South. Wind chills fell Thursday morning to 20 degrees in Charlotte, 15 degrees in Knoxville, 21 degrees in Birmingham and 32 degrees in Charleston.

By midday Thursday, the wind chill only rose to a freezing 10 degrees in Boston, 15 degrees in New York and 25 degrees in Washington, D.C.

The bitter temperatures come after a snow squall moved through the Northeast Wednesday afternoon.

The quick burst of snow brought gusty winds and reduced visibility to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.

At least two people died in a multi-car crash on a Pennsylvania interstate during a snow squall Wednesday.

The brutal cold will not last long in the Northeast and the South -- a warm-up is expected for the weekend and just in time for Christmas.

But the West Coast may get a travel mess over the holidays. A series of storms is threatening to bring flooding, mudslides and heavy rain to Washington, Oregon and Northern California.

The Oregon and Washington coast could see up to 6 inches of heavy rain and wind gusts reaching 60 mph, which may cause power outages.

By Sunday and the start of the holiday week, heavy rain is expected in California with heavy mountain snow. Travel could be impacted in San Francisco by Sunday morning.