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Midwest - below zero records, wind chills

Another winter day, another below-zero high temperature for many parts of the Midwest — at least, it seems that way. The deep chill has returned, bringing with it wind chills ranging from the negative teens to 40s, school cancellations and sighs of resignation from residents who are weary of bundling up.

A persistent weather pattern that's driving Arctic air south was forecast to force temperatures to plummet for about 2 1/2 days, starting overnight Sunday. Actual temperatures will range from the teens in northern Kentucky to double-digits below zero in Minnesota, but even colder wind chills were expected — minus 43 in Minneapolis, minus 23 in Chicago, minus 18 in Dayton, Ohio, minus 14 in Kansas City, Mo., and minus 3 in Louisville, Ky.

Before sunrise Monday at a 24-hour drugstore in Omaha, Neb., where wind chills were at 21 below, Amy Henry said she was longing for warmer weather.

"I just look at my (apartment) pool every day and say, 'Oh, come on, summer,'" the 36-year-old store clerk said.

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

Despite the thermometer reading just 7 degrees in Grand Rapids, Mich., 47-year-old Gary Sloan said the cold would not disrupt his day. The salesman at Used Car Motor Mall said it's just a matter of dressing correctly.

"This type of weather, you've got to come armoured. You've got to have your snow pants. You've got to have your boots," Sloan said, adding that the roads were clear and there was no reason to stay home from work.

Frigid 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.

"I'm sick of it," Chicago resident Matt Ryan, 19, said Sunday. Temperatures in the city were expected to peak at a mere minus 4 degrees on Monday with wind chills as low as 40 below.

Chicago Public Schools called off Monday's classes for its nearly 400,000 students, as did suburban districts. Earlier this month, when it was below zero for 36 straight hours, CPS closed for two days. Amtrak cancelled more than a dozen trains into and out of Chicago.

The Canadian Press

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