‘Dangerously Cold’: Polar Vortex to Engulf US Midwest, Great Lakes Region

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A deep freeze is forecast to hit the U.S. Midwest this week, with snow, brutally cold temperatures and potentially life-threatening wind chill across northern IL and northwest IN by midweek, the National Weather Service said.

It would be the first time the Windy City has seen temps that low since the mid-1980s, according to the weather service. O'Hare had delays of about 50 minutes, while delays were about 15 minutes at Midway.

Governor J.B. Pritzker said wind chill could drive temperatures to -55 degrees Fahrenheit in northern IL on Tuesday evening, capable of causing frostbite in a matter of minutes. Residents are being advised to clear sidewalks and side streets before Tuesday night to avoid the snow freezing in place.

A displacement of a portion of the polar vortex will cause temperatures in some Midwestern cities to fall to their lowest levels in more than two decades by midweek.

Approximately one quarter of the country will wake up to sub-zero temperatures, and Wednesday might bring about literally the coldest day on record in Chicago, with a projected "high" of 14 below zero.

But it's the plunging temperatures expected later this week that have forecasters especially concerned.

Morning lows may reach the minus 20s in the Twin Cities, while Des Moines, Iowa, Chicago, and Milwaukee may experience minus teens and minus 20s by Wednesday and Thursday, according to weather.com.

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The slippery driving will continue through Wednesday morning and there is a chance for school delays.

A winter storm brought several inches of snow to northern IL as the region braces for record-low subzero temperatures.

Snowfall is expected to ramp up between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. Monday, with heavy snow covering the roads making for a hazardous early morning commute, the NWS said.

Temperatures across Canada are now more than 30° below Monday morning and it is set to break south resulting in the coldest arctic outbreak in at least two decades in parts of the Midwest. Even if the record is not broken, the National Weather Service in Chicago is calling this week's forecast "life-threatening extreme cold" that "can lead to rapid onset of frostbite and hypothermia".

McHenry County public schools announced Monday closures Sunday night in anticipation of the weather.

The weather service noted that the "harshest conditions" are anticipated from North Dakota to northern IL.

Bitter cold is forecast to impact the Upper Midwest by Wednesday and Thursday. The county's courts and nonessential services will be closed Monday.