By Ian Simpson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A fast-moving cold front will plunge the U.S. Midwest into a deep freeze on Tuesday and dump up to a foot of snow on parts of the East Coast, forecasters said.
The cold front will drop temperatures below freezing as far south as northern Florida. The high in and around Minnesota and the St. Lawrence Valley will not top zero Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) during Tuesday's daylight hours, forecaster AccuWeather said.
"Travel conditions will deteriorate with slippery roads and flight delays expected to unfold even in areas that avoid heavy snow," AccuWeather said.
The cold front across the eastern half of the country could drop up to 2 inches of snow from the Dakotas to the Ohio Valley. The snow will increase as the cold air picks up moisture near the Atlantic coast, AccuWeather said.
The mountains of Virginia and West Virginia will likely get up to 6 inches of snow. Other sites near the mid-Atlantic and southeastern New England coast could get 6 to 12 inches through late on Tuesday.
For parts of the region, the snow could be the heaviest of the winter. Washington could see its most snow since January 2011, when about 5 inches fell, AccuWeather said.
The National Weather Service said the cold air would produce snow downwind from the Great Lakes.
The polar front will be something of a repeat of the cold snap that gripped much of the United States at the start of the year. Cold and snow snarled air and road travel, shattered temperature records and contributed to at least nine deaths.
In the middle of the cold front on Monday, Grand Marais, Minnesota, recorded -17F (-27C), the lowest temperature in the United States outside Alaska, the weather service said.
(Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Edith Honan and Eric Walsh)