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Dangerous Cold Descends On The U.S.

posted 6 Jan 2014, 08:31 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 6 Jan 2014, 08:31 ]

'Life-threatening' cold bites U.S. Midwest, heads east

CHICAGOILLINOISUNITED STATES (JANUARY 5, 2014) (NBC) - As the Midwestern United States shivered through the region's lowest temperatures in two decades and forecasters warned that life-threatening cold was heading eastward, officials in Chicagoand other districts said schools would be closed on Monday (January 6).

Icy conditions snarled travel across the Midwest and thousands of flights were canceled or delayed, days after the Northeast was hammered by the first winter storm of the season.

"The coldest temperatures in almost two decades will spread into the northern and central U.S. today behind an arctic cold front," the National Weather Service said on Sunday. "Combined with gusty winds, these temperatures will result in life-threatening wind chill values as low as 60 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit/minus 51 degrees Celsius)."

In weather that cold, frostbite can set in on uncovered skin in a matter of minutes, experts warned.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton ordered all public schools in the state closed on Monday to protect children from dangerously cold weather.

Chicago public schools followed suit - reversing an earlier decision - saying in a statement on its website that it would be dangerous for children to commute to school amid sub-zero temperatures and high winds.

The NWS said the widespread chill was a result of a relatively infrequent alignment of weather conditions, allowing the Arctic polar vortex to be displaced unusually far south.

Forecasters warned Chicago and Indianapolis could see overnight lows of minus 12 F (-24 C),Minneapolis minus 29 F (-34 C) and FargoNorth Dakota, minus 31 F (-31 C). The coldest temperature reported in the lower 48 states on Sunday was minus 40 F (-40 C) in the towns of Babbitt andEmbarrassMinnesota, according to the National Weather Service.

Between 6 inches and a foot (15-30 cm) of snow was predicted from Chicago to Detroit, AccuWeather said, while icy sleet and rain was forecast for much of the Northeast, where a brief thaw was forecast before intense cold returned late Monday.