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June 24, 2017

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Brutally cold temperatures return to US 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.

Temperatures will remain in the grips of the deep freeze for 2 1/2 days, said meteorologist Mike Hudson of the National Weather Service in Kansas City, Missouri. It will be similar to what happened earlier this month when temperatures dropped quickly and stayed low for days when a piece of the polar vortex — winds that circulate around the North Pole — "broke off and moved south," Hudson said.

In cities where temperatures reached the single digits and teens Celsius and even higher Sunday, people will wake up Monday to temperatures ranging from around minus 10 to minus 20 degrees Celsius. And with the wind chill, cities throughout the Midwest will feel far colder than the minus 20 degrees Celsius that Hudson said was expected in Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost U.S. city.

The weather service said city after city will face wind chills well below minus 20 degrees Celsius Monday: minus 41.5 degrees Celsius in Minneapolis, minus 25.5 degrees Celsius in Kansas City, minus 23.5 degrees Celsius in St. Louis and minus 19.5 degrees Celsius in Louisville.

In the Chicago area, residents were bracing for a historic deep freeze. Monday's high was expected to be minus 20 degrees Celsius and drop as low as 27 below zero Celsius downtown, with wind chills as low as 40 below zero.

Temperatures in Chicago could remain below minus 18 degrees Celsius on Tuesday as well and remain there for a total of 60 hours — the longest stretch since a record 98 hours in 1983 and the third longest stretch in 80 years. It also would easily eclipse the 36 straight hours temperatures stayed below minus 18 degrees Celsius earlier this month, when the frigid weather prompted the city's public schools to close for two days.

By noon Sunday, Chicago's school district, which has approximately 400,000 students attending more than 650 schools, said it would be closed Monday. Districts in the Chicago suburbs also announced they'd be closed Monday.

In Michigan, snow on the roads and deep subfreezing temperatures contributed to multiple crashes Sunday that forced expressway closings. And on Saturday night, two people were killed in Grand Haven Township in western Michigan because of similar weather conditions, authorities said.

North Dakota and South Dakota residents dealt with dangerous cold Sunday and wind gusts that reached up to 100 kilometers per hour. The high winds led to blowing snow that made it nearly impossible to travel in some areas of the two states.

Severe weather conditions — with snow and high winds — were also impacting Indiana and Iowa.

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