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January 27, 2014

Brutal cold back in Midwest

CHICAGO — A persistent weather pattern driving bitterly cold air south out of the Arctic will cause temperatures from Minnesota to Kentucky to plummet Monday, turning this winter into one of the coldest on record in some areas.

For about two and a half days, actual temperatures will range from the teens to below zero, and the wind chills with be even colder, minus 43 in Minneapolis, minus 23 in Milwaukee and Chicago, minus 14 in Kansas City, Mo., and minus 3 in Louisville.

In fact, the National Weather Service says most of the Midwest will feel far colder than Monday’s expected high in the nation’s northernmost city, Barrow, Alaska — minus 4.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Blair stopped short of calling the latest round of cold part of the polar vortex, which are 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.

He said it’s an amplified pattern of the jet stream, and cold air is filtering in behind a large trough of low pressure. He explained further: “Troughs are typically associated with unstable or unsettled weather, and, at this time of the year, much colder air.”

In the Chicago area, residents were bracing for a historic deep freeze. Monday’s high was expected to be minus 4 degrees, and it could get as low as negative 17 downtown, with wind chills as low as 40 below. Such 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 resident Matt Ryan, 19, was headed to his family’s house in the suburb of Oak Park on Sunday.

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