The dark days of winter are really flexing their polar muscles this year.

According to meteorologists at AccuWeather, The Weather Channel and the National Weather Service, another surge of arctic air is set to push into the region beginning Tuesday.

The bitter blast, which is bringing sub-zero wind chills, and the potential of a few nuisance snowstorms, will begin to move into the region this afternoon and temperatures will begin to fall.

According to the National Weather Service, by Tuesday temperatures are expected to only reach into the high teens with wind chills near zero and winds up to 13 mph. There is also a 60 percent chance of snow between 4 and 7 p.m. with 3 inches possible in some areas.

By Tuesday night, the cold air mass will secure its grip on the region, as overnight temperatures dip to 2 degrees with wind chill values of up to 15 below zero.

The rest of the week has similar temperature patterns, with highs during the day near 20 and lows at night in the single digits.

By Saturday, temperatures are supposed to rise to near 30 before dropping back down into the low 20s on Sunday.

Arctic air threatens landmarks

According to Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather, the arctic air may disrupt Niagara Falls' flow as the threat of ice jams builds.

Earlier this month, below-normal temperatures snarled "the flow of water at the tourist attraction and created significant ice buildup" Pydynowski said.

"When the thaw arrived a week later, the melting ice broke up and floated downstream resulting in ice jams."

The potential for ice jams is again possible during this upcoming freeze.

Signs of early spring?

Many people in the region are singing the same tune think spring!

Some staff here at the TIMES NEWS even saw a few hopeful signs of warmer times, including robins and skunks.

But these usual symbols of warm, sunny days and nights are not necessarily a sign of what is about to come just yet.

Franklin Klock, a naturalist at the Carbon County Environmental Education Center, said that the sightings are only because the animals are looking for food.

"Robins are migratory, but like most birds, if there is available food, they will stick around," he said. "In winter, robins switch from worms and insects to fruit-like berries and crab apples. The birds you are seeing now have not returned early, but rather, have never left.

"As for skunks, they are not true hibernators," Klock explained. "They are, however, food foragers. Since we had some warm weather, and then some snow cover, (skunks) may be moving about a bit more to find food. This puts them in harm's way. Dogs, cats and cars are their biggest threat."