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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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nparisi10 January 27 2014 at 10:04 AM

Damn it is cold and I fear for the elderly and people who may not have enough wood/coal to heat their houses, so let us pray for them all, amen. Lord have mercy on Your people, amen.

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1 reply
bjredmond64 nparisi10 January 27 2014 at 10:29 AM

Lord have mercy on YOUR people. that is the crux. how many actually belong to Him?

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vallontina January 27 2014 at 8:49 AM

Tell them to come warm up in New Jersey today. Right now it's a balmy 32!

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dave1marine January 27 2014 at 9:08 AM

Went out to warm up my truck this a.m.. Developed a cold a few days ago, so I was coughing as I walked out the door. The cough formed a strange looking ball, fell to the ground and shattered.

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dave1marine January 27 2014 at 9:10 AM

My heating bill is going to resemble the national debt.

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2 replies
linda siegel dave1marine January 27 2014 at 9:33 AM

you can be sure of that. I live in Indiana and right now it is 1 degree

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2 replies
majorsujet linda siegel January 27 2014 at 9:41 AM

0 in Chitown.

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dave1marine linda siegel January 27 2014 at 9:42 AM

Me too. "So FEW degrees, so MUCH time. F.W. eskimo.

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nparisi10 dave1marine January 27 2014 at 10:10 AM

You are not alone my fellow vet. I keep getting BAR graphs from mine telling me I use more than my neighbors do and I say, "I pay for it so! . . ." I feel badly for the elderly that will die because of no real food and not heat to keep them warn and safe, amen. Take care bro and watch your six's.

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Lynda January 27 2014 at 9:46 AM

These brutal temperatures are HELL for the animals. PLEASE people ....make sure your animals are well taken care of. Feed them a bit more.....limit outdoor treks......make sure they have plenty of fresh, clean water. Livestock also needs adequate shelter....limited outdoor exposure....fresh/clean/unfrozen water and a bit of extra food will go a long way to make sure your outdoor animals are dealing well, with this cold. :-)

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sbsavage99 January 27 2014 at 10:06 AM

Over two hundred record low temperatures set in the US in December alone......and this is normal?
Go figure.

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Mr. Alan January 27 2014 at 8:27 AM

Speculation about a "mini ice age" may not be far from the truth. They occur perioidically. We just don't ntice them that much because they are not of the apocalypic variety and they usually don't last very long. Here in Maryland it's been a lot colder than normal. But, hey, it's winter in the northern hemisphere. That means cold, and snow, and general discomfort for many. We'll get over it.

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Anne January 27 2014 at 8:58 AM

I live in Michigan. Our cars won't start.

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Doris January 27 2014 at 9:59 AM

Thank God I live in Florida even tho' it's cold for us

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Chris January 27 2014 at 8:02 AM

Unlike anything of recent in the midwest. I do not believe pressure systems circulate around the poles, then descend and form a sweeping pattern across 2/3rds of the nation. This is an ice age warning, an ARCTIC OUCH! If midwest winters continue along this trend, head to warmer regions. Survival mode is dangerous.

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