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Brutal cold returns to Midwest for extended stay

Breaking: High Winds and Harsh Cold Northern Plains

CHICAGO (AP) - An unusual weather pattern driving bitterly cold air from the Arctic Circle south across a huge swath of the Midwest is expected to send temperatures plummeting Monday from Minneapolis to Louisville, Ky., the latest punch from a winter that is in some areas shaping up as one of the coldest on record.

Temperatures will remain in the grips of the deep freeze for 2½ days, said meteorologist Mike Hudson of the National Weather Service in Kansas City, Mo. It will be similar to what happened earlier this month when temperatures dropped quickly and stayed low for days when a piece of the polar vortex - winds that circulate around the North Pole - "broke off and moved south," Hudson said.

In cities where temperatures reached the 40s, 50s and even higher Sunday, people will wake up Monday to temperatures ranging from the teens to well below zero. And with the wind chill, cities throughout the Midwest will feel far colder than the minus 4 that Hudson said was expected in Barrow, Alaska, the nation's northernmost city.

The weather service said city after city will face wind chills well below zero Monday: minus 43 in Minneapolis, minus 23 in both Milwaukee and Chicago, minus 14 in Kansas City, minus 10 in St. Louis, and minus 3 in Louisville.

In the Chicago area, residents were bracing for a historic deep freeze. Monday's high was expected to be minus 4 degrees and drop as low as 17 below zero downtown, with wind chills as low as 40 below zero.

Temperatures could remain below zero Tuesday as well and remain below zero for a total of 60 hours - the longest stretch since temperatures stayed below zero for a record 98 hours in 1983 and the third longest stretch in 80 years. It also would easily eclipse the 36 straight hours temperatures stayed below zero earlier this month, when the frigid weather prompted the city's public schools to close for two days.

By noon Sunday, Chicago's school district, which has approximately 400,000 students attending more than 650 schools, said it would be closed Monday. Districts in the Chicago suburbs also announced they'd be closed Monday.

In Michigan, snow on the roads and deep subfreezing temperatures contributed to multiple crashes Sunday that forced expressway closings. And on Saturday night, two people were killed in Grand Haven Township in western Michigan because of similar weather conditions, authorities said.

North Dakota and South Dakota residents dealt with dangerous cold Sunday and wind gusts that reached up to 60 mph. The high winds led to blowing snow that made it nearly impossible to travel in some areas of the two states.

"This is definitely the most widespread event we've had this year," said Adam Jones, a weather service meteorologist in Grand Forks, N.D.

Snow and high winds in Indiana led officials there to restrict vehicle traffic or recommend only essential travel in more than half of the state's counties.

In Iowa, snow was falling on Sunday and high winds were expected, prompting officials to warn that traveling would be dangerous. Forecasters there called for wind chills to be as low as 40 below zero on Monday.

Join the discussion

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Ron January 26 2014 at 10:55 PM

Oh, global warming...no
Oh, global cooling...no
Oh, climate change...yes, no, uh whatever. Just get cap and tax going!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
turboflame41 January 26 2014 at 11:11 PM

It is what it is. Get over it. If you don't like the cold move to southern cal.

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1 reply
wishladya turboflame41 January 26 2014 at 11:56 PM

People so thick you can't see the ground! Forest fires so thick you can't breathe the air, earth tremors daily, go to the beach to get some fresh air and the waves crash in on you from a storm at sea...why I returned to Indiana.

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1 reply
thechargerdude wishladya January 27 2014 at 12:59 AM

Ya California is horrible, don't come here.

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vbcuda January 27 2014 at 2:34 AM

People that live in the cold all there lives are prepared for this "polar vortex" People in the south think the weather is always nice.

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1 reply
thorrsman vbcuda January 27 2014 at 6:29 AM

Well, usually nicer, at any rate.

I have heard of a thing called a "hurricane" which afflicts this area, but having been here only four months, I have yet to see such a thing.

But it sure beats winter in Colorado.

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vbcuda January 27 2014 at 2:36 AM

The cold weather and winter should protect our northern border...

Flag Reply +2 rate up
kubi490 January 27 2014 at 4:23 AM

it's the Midwest it's winter it's cold and we have blowing snow and freezing temps

nothing has changed here except except it's a slow news day

Flag Reply +4 rate up
phpoling January 26 2014 at 7:37 PM

It's sunny here in beautiful Northwest for past two weeks now. Love it.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
billcdaly January 26 2014 at 7:32 PM

Surprised this is not being blamed on global warming, everything else is.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
jjr526 January 26 2014 at 7:30 PM

On Tuesday, Obama will be speaking about global warming during the state of the union. So will he promise change?

Flag Reply +5 rate up
RouteUS66Busload January 27 2014 at 5:09 AM

Here in Oregon & NW, drove my 2005 Mustang V-6 convertible with the top down, the sun was great after long weeks of foggy weather. No snow at all, Mt Hood's low on snows. Interesting to see what's the actual pattern in the next few years. I'll pray for you Midwest people.

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Virg. January 27 2014 at 5:15 AM


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1 reply
Dan Virg. January 27 2014 at 8:54 AM

It's so cold in Chicago, the flashers are just describing themselves! ☺

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