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Persistent below-zero temps visit Midwest again

Deep Freeze Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) -- Another winter day, another below-zero high temperature for many parts of the Midwest - at least, it seems that way. The deep chill has returned, bringing with it wind chills ranging from the negative teens to 40s, school cancellations and sighs of resignation from residents who are weary of bundling up.

A persistent weather pattern that's driving Arctic air south will drop temperatures for about 2 1/2 days, starting overnight Sunday. Actual temperatures will range from the teens in northern Kentucky to double-digits below zero in Minnesota, but wind chills will be even colder - minus 43 in Minneapolis, minus 23 in Chicago, minus 18 in Dayton, Ohio, minus 14 in Kansas City, Mo., and minus 3 in Louisville, Ky.

"I'm sick of it," Chicago resident Matt Ryan, 19, said Sunday on his way to his family's home in the suburb of Oak Park.

"I came home to steal a scarf from my parents," he said. Ryan's plan for Monday, when the high is forecast to be a mere minus 4 degrees and the wind chills could dip to 40 below: Dress in layers, carry hand warmers and wear long underwear.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Blair stopped short of calling the latest round of cold part of the polar vortex, a system of winds that circulate around the North Pole.

"There's really nothing abnormal about the air that's coming into the area," he said. "It's just been a very persistent pattern" of cold air.

Blair said it's an amplified pattern of the jet stream, with cold air filtering in behind a large trough of low pressure. Simplifying, he explained: "Troughs are typically associated with unstable or unsettled weather, and, at this time of the year, much colder air."

Frigid temperatures are expected to hold into Tuesday. If Chicago makes it to 60 hours below zero, it will be the longest stretch since 1983 - when it was below zero for 98 hours - and the third longest in 80 years.

Chicago Public Schools called off Monday's classes for its nearly 400,000 students, as did suburban districts. Earlier this month, when it was below zero for 36 straight hours, CPS closed for two days.

About 90 miles north of Chicago, Ray Fournelle lamented the weather's ability to keep him from his normal routine of jogging 4 miles a couple of times a week.

When it's gotten bad in the past, the 72-year-old engineering professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee will walk instead. Last weekend was the last time he tried to exercise outside. Monday's forecast calls for a high of 5 below.

"With all the snow and ice on the sidewalks, you just slide around out there. It's just rotten," he said Sunday.

In the northern U.S., North Dakota and South Dakota residents dealt with dangerous cold and wind gusts Sunday that reached up to 60 mph - blowing snow to the point where it was nearly impossible to travel in some spots. The winds weren't as strong in Indiana, but officials there still restricted vehicle traffic or recommended only essential travel in more than half of its counties.

In Michigan, expressways closed as snow and subfreezing temperatures played a role in multiple crashes Sunday; at least three people died over the weekend because of weather-related accidents.

Business is far from usual this winter for Alex Alfidi, manager at Leo's Coney Island restaurant in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham. His 24-hour restaurant been getting some carryout patrons, but the casual walk-in customers have stayed away.

"We slowed down big time," the 39-year-old said. Alfidi has logged 15 years in Michigan, and says he's seen some challenging winters.

"This is the biggest one," he said.

Even the nation's northernmost city, Barrow, Alaska, will be warmer than much of the Upper Midwest on Monday; it's expected to reach minus 4.

Join the discussion

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tim@agonc.com January 27 2014 at 1:47 PM

That darn Global Warming!!!!!!!!

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BILL January 27 2014 at 11:25 AM

This is the kind of cold weather in Northern Mich. and other States that all baby boomers grew up with in their winters of youth except there was alot more heavy snow with it and no slowblowers,just shovels and scoops.we didnt complain way back then and we aint complaining now.the younger generation is now getting a clue of the cold old days gone by.

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1 reply
jejozi BILL January 27 2014 at 12:40 PM

Yeah, right, we didn't complain when we had to shovel a foot of snow. Lol and you had to walk up hill to school and back, too. Here's a snapshot from Gaylord , MI, January 1955: hi for the month was 39° F., th low was -3°. (Source: weather underground. http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/KGLR/1955/1/26/MonthlyHistory.html) in 1960, the January hi was also 39° and the lo was -7°.

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Bill January 27 2014 at 4:55 PM

News flash: "Winter is Cold".

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Anyas Mom January 27 2014 at 11:16 AM

I remember the deep-freeze in the early 80's. When it got up to 0, it felt like a heat wave! Don't live in Chicago anymore!

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Maggie January 27 2014 at 11:12 AM

Well, we're freezing off Fleas and Ticks and Masquitos

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1 reply
mlaurel58 Maggie January 27 2014 at 11:20 AM

They tell us locally that the larvae of the emerald ash borer, which is destroying the ash trees, starts to die when the temp reaches 0 and the percentage of their destruction increases as it gets colder....that is a positive to the cold, but whether it's worth the suffering is another matter.

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Bill January 27 2014 at 5:25 PM

"Global warming" graphs seem to indicate a spike in temperature as soon as the modern thermometer was invented. Maybe using thermometers, not light bulbs is the problem.

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runswthscisors40 January 27 2014 at 5:41 PM

"Welcome to Minnesota.........Land of Four Seasons.......Pre-Winter, Winter, Post-Winter, and Next Winter................

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1 reply
claims1935 runswthscisors40 January 27 2014 at 6:53 PM

Have to enjoy those seasons ! I bet it's beautiful.

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phyhle January 27 2014 at 5:41 PM

If it is cold then you have some stuff and hot without all the other things with frost and stuff and kind of like temperatures in all cool co3 or two and then the ice caps are over in water and so it gets hotter if you burn stuff up sorta you know and that's the way it is maybe you know.
Al Gore

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kimcrdr January 27 2014 at 5:44 PM

ahh yes, the Winter season is quite pesky!! It is cold where I am at, I dont mind it, I just wish since we are this cold we could see the white stuff fall from the sky!!

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1 reply
David S. kimcrdr January 27 2014 at 5:59 PM

No thanks. The cold is brutal enough......no one needs more misery.

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mayacaye January 27 2014 at 10:53 AM

just imagine how cold it would be if we did not have global warming

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