Winter is fast approaching, and Mother Nature evidently got the memo.

After an initial cold front sweeps southeast out of Canada next week, a more significant and widespread shot of bitter winter chill will spread over the eastern half of the nation, making for one of the coldest Veterans Days on record, and challenging or breaking several temperature records. Meanwhile, some on the Eastern Seaboard could see their first flakes fly in the next week or so, arriving right on or in some places even ahead of schedule.

The “appetizer round” of below-average chill is already beginning to encompass more real estate, with a cold front taking shape from the south-central plains to the Midwest. Nashville, Cleveland and Lexington, Ky., will see the front pass Thursday. Atlanta, Washington and Charlotte will get it Friday.

Nashville will see a high just shy of 70 degrees Wednesday; Thursday features plummeting temperatures, and Friday may not inch above 43 degrees.

The front’s caprice will be most dramatic on the plains. Amarillo, Tex., may break 70 degrees Wednesday, with evening thunderstorms along the front preceding a temperature that may fall to freezing overnight. A hit of snow is also possible. Parts of eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle could awaken Thursday 40 degrees cooler than 24 hours earlier.

Meanwhile, the front will sneak through places such as Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore in the night Thursday into Friday morning. The District will fall from a high of 60 Thursday to 45 Friday. Next week looks to be even colder.

In the Northeast, the front will be accompanied by inland snow as a wave of low pressure develops off the coast. It will be confined mainly to the higher terrain of the Vermont’s Green Mountains, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and Maine from Oxford and Franklin counties to the Down East and Acadia.

At the same time, the next front will be quietly collecting itself across the country’s northern tier, spanning Montana, the Dakotas and Minnesota. On Sunday, it will pass through Nebraska, Kansas and the Corn Belt. On Monday, it could reach from the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast to the Ohio River and eventually the eastern Great Lakes and New England. This one could be even sharper, more defined and more dramatic than its predecessor.

The Kansas City area may remain at or below freezing Monday and Tuesday. St. Louis probably won’t even make it to freezing Tuesday. And in Chicago, the National Weather Service is forecasting both days to hit a high of 26 or 27 degrees.

The significance of below normal temperatures look to be noteworthy,” wrote the National Weather Service’s Chicago office. “Current forecast highs for Monday, Veterans Day, are the coldest on record for that date.” The coldest high temperatures on Nov. 10, 11 and 12 have been 28 degrees — with records dating back to 1872. Lows will drop to the middle teens.

The coldest anomalies during the second shot of bitter cold will be on the plains. Oklahoma City will enjoy temperatures in the 60s on Sunday; on Monday, folks there will be breaking out the winter jackets and enduring the 30s. And if you’re really looking for face-stinging cold, try Minot, N.D. — Monday’s high is forecast to be 8 degrees.

Even Houston could see chilly highs next week with the more vigorous shot of cold, with daily temperatures peaking in the lower 50s.

In the Washington-Baltimore region, highs Tuesday and Wednesday may get stuck in the 30s to low 40s, and these Mid-Atlantic cities could see their first snowflakes.

Looking ahead, this pattern is favored to persist for at least the next several weeks, with unseasonable cold in the east and warmer-than-average temperatures in the west. NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center anticipates some rebound of more-typical temperatures late in the month.