Arctic chill settles across Upper Midwest, Rockies

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

38 PHOTOS
Alaska, Midwest Storm
See Gallery
Arctic chill settles across Upper Midwest, Rockies
Traveler Susan Messerly returns to her car at Billings Logan International Airport in Billings, Mont., after her flight to Phoenix was canceled, as temperatures plunged below zero in Billings, Mont., Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Forecasters said record lows were possible Wednesday morning and the cold air would linger into the weekend. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
Winter storm will send temperatures plummeting on East Coast http://t.co/nHJ62SCwr9 http://t.co/rW2gXv80WX
Drivers tried to negotiate the slick hill on 40th Street traveling north toward the intersection with Old Cheney Road on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The Midwest is experiencing the first icy touch of arctic air after a storm has moved into the region packing high winds, light snow and ice. Other regions and the East are expecting a dose later in the week, with temperatures forecast as much as 40 degrees below average. (AP Photo/The Journal-Star, Ted Kirk)
Workers work to complete a road project in single digit weather in downtown Williston, N.D. on Tuesday Nov. 11, 2014. Residents across the Rockies and Upper Midwest dug out from under a foot or more of snow on Tuesday, after waking up to frigid temperatures that plunged as much as 50 degrees overnight. The rest of the Midwest and the East are expecting a dose of the icy weather later this week thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)
St. Charles, Mo. native Jeff Novel smoothes out cement in downtown Williston, N.D. in single digit weather on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Residents across the Rockies and Upper Midwest dug out from under a foot or more of snow on Tuesday, after waking up to frigid temperatures that plunged as much as 50 degrees overnight. The rest of the Midwest and the East are expecting a dose of the icy weather later this week thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)
A good Samaritan helps push a car stuck on an icy road in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The Midwest is experiencing the first icy touch of arctic air after a storm has moved into the region packing high winds, light snow and ice. Other regions and the East are expecting a dose later in the week, with temperatures forecast as much as 40 degrees below average. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
John Smigel salutes to the grave of U.S. Army MSGT Robert W. Raiser who served in World War II after placing an American flag at the soldier's headstone at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Sheridan, Colo., on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. A powerful storm made up of the remnants of Typhoon Nuri has moved into the intermountain West, packing high winds and light snow for the region's residents to contend with during the work week. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Light snow carpets the graves of soldiers at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Sheridan, Colo., while a bouquet of flowers sits on the grave of Air Force Lt. Harvey J. Bevier, who served in Worlf War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars, on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. A powerful storm made up of the remnants of Typhoon Nuri has moved into the intermountain West, packing high winds and light snows for the region's residents to contend with on Veterans' Day. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
I must live up north. Winter storm and it's still fall. Thinking there should be another season called Wintumn. http://t.co/1UFFbQG0ps
7,000,000 people are under winter storm warnings: http://t.co/wenuiu9wBe http://t.co/CUTv4BNhHI
Updated forecast says winter storm could drop 14 inches of snow on St. Paul, Minneapolis. http://t.co/pefYEtSJXd http://t.co/tQmQJUq6ps
Workers work to complete a road project in single digit weather in downtown Williston, N.D. on Tuesday Nov. 11, 2014. Residents across the Rockies and Upper Midwest dug out from under a foot or more of snow on Tuesday, after waking up to frigid temperatures that plunged as much as 50 degrees overnight. The rest of the Midwest and the East are expecting a dose of the icy weather later this week thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)
This Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 photo, provided by Lena Howland/KOAA News 5, shows tumbleweeds that blew into Pueblo West, Colo. with a cold front that came through the town on Monday. Tumbleweeds piled up around houses and shops and along roads several feet high in and around Colorado Springs and Pueblo as the system moved from north to south across the state. (AP Photo/KOAA News 5, Lena Howland)
This Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 photo, provided by Lena Howland/KOAA News 5, shows tumbleweeds that blew into Pueblo West, Colo. with a cold front that came through the town on Monday. Tumbleweeds piled up around houses and shops and along roads several feet high in and around Colorado Springs and Pueblo as the system moved from north to south across the state. (AP Photo/KOAA News 5, Lena Howland)
This Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 photo, provided by Lena Howland/KOAA News 5, shows tumbleweeds that blew into Pueblo West, Colo. with a cold front that came through the town on Monday. Tumbleweeds piled up around houses and shops and along roads several feet high in and around Colorado Springs and Pueblo as the system moved from north to south across the state. (AP Photo/KOAA News 5, Lena Howland)
This Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014 photo, provided by Lena Howland/KOAA News 5, shows tumbleweeds that blew into Pueblo West, Colo. with a cold front that came through the town on Monday. Tumbleweeds piled up around houses and shops and along roads several feet high in and around Colorado Springs and Pueblo as the system moved from north to south across the state. (AP Photo/KOAA News 5, Lena Howland)
A man walks through Mears Park in downtown St. Paul, Minn., during the first snowstorm of the season on Monday, Nov.10, 2014.Though the snow will largely stop in Minnesota by Tuesday afternoon, said Joe Calderone, senior forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, Minnesota, the state won’t be “seeing any warm up any time soon.” (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Leila Navidi)
Children walk to school in St. Paul, Minn., during the first snowstorm of the season on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. Though the snow will largely stop in Minnesota by Tuesday afternoon, said Joe Calderone, senior forecaster at the National Weather Service office in Chanhassen, Minnesota, the state won’t be “seeing any warm up any time soon.” (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Leila Navidi)
This photo provided by the Minnesota State Patrol via Twitter shows a semi loaded with live turkeys that skidded off an interstate near Dalton, Minn., as a winter storm moved into the region, on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014. The State Patrol says the driver of the semi wasn't seriously hurt when the rig slipped off Interstate 94 and overturned down an embankment. (AP Photo/Minnesota State Patrol)
A good Samaritan helps push a car stuck on an icy road in Omaha, Neb., Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The Midwest is experiencing the first icy touch of arctic air after a storm has moved into the region packing high winds, light snow and ice. Other regions and the East are expecting a dose later in the week, with temperatures forecast as much as 40 degrees below average. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
St. Charles, Mo. native Jeff Novel smoothes out cement in downtown Williston, N.D. in single digit weather on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Residents across the Rockies and Upper Midwest dug out from under a foot or more of snow on Tuesday, after waking up to frigid temperatures that plunged as much as 50 degrees overnight. The rest of the Midwest and the East are expecting a dose of the icy weather later this week thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)
Lambeau Field saw its first snowfall of the 2014 season today! @Ariens Snow Moments gallery: http://t.co/kjyTb7TgVA http://t.co/zzbX9aj6Ck
Season's first snow could be bad news for farmers in Midwest where corn remains in fields: http://t.co/GSHI76ews9 http://t.co/Ff3jSzHbHB
Snow falls on the Vince Lombardi statue at Lambeau Field, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. A frigid blast of air is moving into the mainland U.S. thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. Residents in the Upper Midwest are bracing for heavy snow and temperatures plunging across numerous states. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Typhoon Nuri on 21 August 2008 nearing Hong-Kong in the Western Pacific ocean. True-colour satellite image using MODIS data., Typhoon Nuri, Western Pacific, Asia, On 21/08/2008, True Colour Satellite Image (Photo by Planet Observer/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Snow covers the ground as workers of Heath Firms, from Coloma, Wis., plant tulips and work on holiday decorations at Lambeau Field, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. A frigid blast of air is moving into the mainland U.S. thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. Residents in the Upper Midwest are bracing for heavy snow and temperatures plunging across numerous states. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Workers of Heath Firms, from Coloma, Wis., plant tulips for the spring and work on holiday decorations at Lambeau Field, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. A frigid blast of air is moving into the mainland U.S. thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. Residents in the Upper Midwest are bracing for heavy snow and temperatures plunging across numerous states. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Workers of Heath Firms, from Coloma, Wis., plant tulips and work on holiday decorations at Lambeau Field, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. A frigid blast of air is moving into the mainland U.S. thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. Residents in the Upper Midwest are bracing for heavy snow and temperatures plunging across numerous states. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Snow falls on the Curly Lambeau statue at Lambeau Field, Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Green Bay, Wis. A frigid blast of air is moving into the mainland U.S. thanks to a powerful storm that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. Residents in the Upper Midwest are bracing for heavy snow and temperatures plunging across numerous states. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
This Nov. 5, 2014 photo provided by NASA shows a picture captured by NASA's Aqua satellite of Typhoon Nuri. Weather forecasters say an explosive storm, a remnant of Typhoon Nuri, surpassing the intensity of 2012's Superstorm Sandy is heading toward the northern Pacific Ocean and expected to pass Alaska's Aleutian Islands over the weekend. (AP Photo/NASA)
CHINA - AUGUST 22: Storm clouds cover the city of Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. Hong Kong closed its markets and offices as Typhoon Nuri bore down on the city with winds as high as 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour, prompting the government to warn residents to prepare for a direct hit. (Photo by Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
CHINA - AUGUST 22: Trash is strewn on the ground by winds of an incoming typhoon in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. Hong Kong closed its markets and offices as Typhoon Nuri bore down on the city with winds as high as 120 kilometers (75 miles) per hour, prompting the government to warn residents to prepare for a direct hit. (Photo by Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
A Police officer walks across a mini bus destroyed by fallen scaffoldings near a construction site in Hong Kong, Friday, Aug. 22, 2008. Typhoon Nuri weakened to a severe tropical storm as it landed in Hong Kong Friday, bringing strong winds and rainfall but inflicting little damage. No major destruction was reported, unlike in the Philippines, where Nuri killed seven people and triggered landslides and floods in the north. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
An arch welcoming people near Williston, N.D.'s Amtrak station is seen on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. Tuesday morning saw temperatures in the single digits and a light snowfall. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

DETROIT (AP) -- The Arctic chill that has gripped the Upper Midwest and Rockies is spreading.

Other parts of the U.S. are expecting sharp drops in temperature in the coming days from a powerful weather system that hit Alaska with hurricane-force winds over the weekend. The system has dumped 3 feet of snow in some places.

A look at the system and its effects:

---

SNOW, SNOW AND MORE SNOW

As much as 3 feet of snow blanketed parts of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, with temperatures in the 20s and 30s early Wednesday. Up to 18 inches fell in northern Wisconsin and parts of central Minnesota saw more than 16.

Many roads were snow-covered and slippery Wednesday morning in the Upper Peninsula, where residents are accustomed to snowy conditions. Of his drive into work, meteorologist Justin Titus said that roads were "just rutted out and kind of felt like you were driving over a washboard."

The National Weather Service said some lake-effect snow, mainly in Michigan, is forecast through the weekend.

Just How Bad Is Next Week's Winter Forecast?
---

---

THE COLD

The unseasonably low temperatures are spreading. In northern Illinois, temperatures fell more than 30 degrees in less than a day, from a high of 58 on Tuesday to 26 degrees on Wednesday morning.

The chill was expected to hit the Appalachians and mid-South by Wednesday morning, and the East Coast by Thursday.

In Billings, Montana, where temperatures fell from the high 60s into the single digits on Tuesday, Patsy Kimmel said she was warned about the weather before arriving from Oklahoma to celebrate her 70th birthday with family.

"Yesterday I was wearing sandals and a short-sleeve shirt, and today I'm wearing a coat and scarf and turtleneck and sweatshirt and gloves," she said.

In the Texas Panhandle, temperatures plunged from 70 degrees into the teens overnight. Oklahoma City went from a high of 80 degrees Monday to a low of 30 Tuesday morning.

In the Dakotas, wind chills made it feel like 20 below in some places. That was good news for Action Mechanical Inc. of Rapid City, South Dakota, a heating and ventilation business that was doing booming trade.

"Bang! We get this arctic blast, and it just opens the floodgates," said John Hammond Jr., a department head. "We're behind right now as we're sitting here talking."

---

DON'T BLAME THE POLAR VORTEX

Meteorologists are adamant the weather isn't because of the polar vortex, a giant upper air pattern that normally pens in cold air in the Arctic in the winter. Instead, they say it's being pushed in by a different weather phenomenon more related to the remnants of a powerful typhoon.

"The polar vortex itself has not moved south. It's still in the Arctic where it always is," said National Weather Service spokeswoman Susan Buchanan.

Whatever the case, the cold is expected to linger. Some regions will go from record warm to record cold in just two days, with temperatures dropping 15 to 20 degrees below normal on the East Coast Friday and Saturday. Freezing temperatures will likely dip as far south as Atlanta on Friday, said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground.

---

SNOW DAY DREAMS DASHED

The early wintry weather in the Midwest gave Principal Lynn Grewing an opportunity to test a virtual classroom: She asked students of St. Cloud Cathedral high school in central Minnesota to work from home using laptops or iPads.

Grewing said her students' cherished snow days are now a thing of the past.

"This is what we will be doing every single snow day going forward," she said. "I'll be honest. There has been some grumbling."

Private schools such as Cathedral, as well as some public school districts nationwide, are starting to use the flexibility that technology provides to meet school mandates without needing makeup days when bad weather keeps students at home.

Cathedral senior Tommy Auger said doing classwork at home using his school-provided MacBook Air didn't feel very different to a day in class. Once they got over the initial disappointment of missing a snow day off, Auger said he and his classmates agreed they would rather skip a day of sledding than make up the missed school days in the summer.

"It's hard to think ahead, but it's definitely better," he said.

---

James Nord reported from Pierre, South Dakota.

---

Associated Press writers contributing to this report include Kyle Potter in St. Paul, Minnesota; Seth Borenstein in Washington; Matt Brown in Billings, Montana; Kevin Burbach in Bismarck, North Dakota; David Runk in Detroit; Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee; and Caryn Rousseau in Chicago.

More to read on AOL.com:
Mali reports 2 new Ebola deaths in capital
US-China climate deal aims to prod others to act
Arctic storm has Colorado shoveling ... tumbleweed

Read Full Story

From Our Partners