Much of the snow that was supposed to fall in the US Midwest has come down and now it is time for the main event: record-breaking cold.
The US National Weather Service said that yesterday and today could see record cold from the southern plains and the Mississippi Valley to the Great Lakes and beyond, thanks to what it calls an “arctic air mass” that started in Siberia and has been spilling over a big chunk of the Midwest and east coast.
There was yesterday to be plenty of snow in parts of the northeast, as the agency said that the region could see up to 30cm of snow, creating what it called “hazardous travel conditions.”
Meanwhile, temperatures were forecast below freezing as far south as the Texas Gulf Coast.
Records were expected to be broken in Chicago, as well.
Agency meteorologist Kevin Birk said that the high for the Windy City was expected to reach minus-6°C, which is 3.9°C lower than the previous record set for Nov. 12.
Low temperatures in Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa could drop into the single digits, he said.
“This is an air mass that’s more typical for the middle of January than mid-November,” Birk said. “It is pretty much about the coldest we can be this time of year [and] it could break records all over the region.”
In some areas, the mercury fell quickly. Temperatures in Denver, Colorado, climbed past 21°C over the weekend, only to fall to minus-10°C early on Monday.
As the weather made driving difficult in much of the Midwest, authorities said that Monday’s snowfall was to blame for four deaths.
The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan said two women, aged 81 and 64, and a 57-year-old man were killed in a two-vehicle crash caused by poor road conditions.
The Kansas Highway Patrol said that an eight-year-old girl died in a three-vehicle wreck.
Officials in central Wyoming were searching for a 16-year-old autistic boy who went missing on Sunday wearing only his pajamas.
In Chicago, an airplane landing at O’Hare International Airport on Monday slid across the runway.
No one was injured.
More than 1,000 flights at O’Hare and Midway International Airport were canceled after more than 7.6cm of snow fell.
The National Weather Service reported that overall, snowfall totals could reach up to 30cm or more in some parts of Indiana, Michigan and Vermont.
Areas west of the Rocky Mountains would be spared the arctic air, with above-average temperatures expected in some of those places, it added.
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