STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Deep freeze grips Upper Midwest; more bitter cold to come

Forecasters say the frigid weather is expected to linger into next week, with even colder temperatures midweek.

Posted: Jan 24, 2019 4:34 PM
Updated: Jan 25, 2019 11:59 AM

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An arctic wave has wrapped parts of the Midwest in numbing cold, sending temperatures plunging and prompting officials to close schools in several states on Friday, but forecasters say the worst may be yet to come.

Cold weather advisories were in effect from North Dakota to Ohio, with dangerously cold wind chills that could dip to as low as 45 below zero (negative 42 Celsius) in northern Wisconsin and Minnesota and to 35 below (negative 37 Celsius) in parts of northern Illinois and Iowa.

The bitter cold caused administrators in Wisconsin's largest school district to cancel classes, meaning nearly 78,000 students in Milwaukee Public Schools were told to stay home Friday. High temperatures in the area were expected to reach just 2 degrees (negative 16.7 Celsius) with a wind chill of minus 23 (negative 20.5 Celsius).

The wind chill, which describes the effect of wind and cold temperatures on exposed skin, is of more concern because frostbite can occur within minutes. Schools also closed because of the cold in western Michigan, northern Illinois, eastern Iowa and other parts of Wisconsin.

Ice fishing guide Bryan Lang acknowledged that extreme cold was part of his job in northern North Dakota, but he said he felt lucky to have taken Friday off work: the morning temperature was negative 21 degrees (negative 29 Celsius) with a wind chill of minus 42 (negative 41 Celsius).

"I'm glad to be in the house drinking coffee," he laughed.

The deep freeze caused organizers of the Winter Carnival in Minnesota to cancel several events, including Thursday night's parade through downtown St. Paul. In South Dakota, the city of Sioux Falls has closed its six outdoor skating rinks because of the cold weather.

Even harsher weather is expected next week. Bitter cold as bad — if not worse — than the 2014 polar vortex outbreak is expected, as frigid air escapes the Arctic in two icy excursions into Canada and the continental U.S., according to Ryan Maue, a meteorologist for weathermodels.com.

The first bout of cold air will strike northern Michigan and bring extreme cold to Ontario, while the second will spin south over the Midwest and through the Great Lakes, Maue said.

"It's going to be some insult after injury," Maue said. "Any hope in sight for a warm-up? No."

Some forecasters are calling the frigid invasions of cold air "Barney" because computer forecast models show them as chubby purple blobs, Maue said.

The National Weather Service notes that "potentially historic cold" is possible in northern Illinois starting Tuesday, following several inches of snow, with daytime temperatures below zero and wind chills frequently falling below negative 30 (negative 34.4 Celsius).

In northern Michigan, the U.S. Coast Guard warned residents of islands in the river connecting Lake Superior and Lake Huron that they could be cut off from ferry service during next week's deep freeze. The guard urged residents to stock up on supplies including food and heating fuel. Ice-breaking operations were working to keep ferry routes open.

In Minnesota, Kenny Blumenfeld, a senior climatologist with the Department of Natural Resources' State Climatology Office, said winter cold snaps on average are an annual occurrence in Minnesota, but extreme cold happens once every three to five years.

"It's Minnesota. We're supposed to go below zero and spend a lot of time not coming above zero. It's part of our winter," Blumenfeld said.

The University of Maine's Climate Reanalyzer notes that the temporary icy cold doesn't disprove global warming, despite what some non-scientists may claim. On Friday, the globe as a whole was 1.08 degrees (0.6 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1979 to 2000 average.

"In a warming world you're still going to have unusually hot and unusually cold events happening in a particular part of the world," Berkeley Earth climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said. "Weather is not going away."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 485230

Reported Deaths: 6554
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1006801585
Ramsey43047801
Dakota36254390
Anoka33274384
Washington22065255
Stearns18723201
St. Louis14794262
Scott13273107
Wright12517115
Olmsted1177988
Sherburne871572
Carver771040
Clay690387
Rice670091
Blue Earth593835
Kandiyohi579474
Crow Wing519681
Chisago498445
Otter Tail481870
Benton446190
Winona418049
Mower404131
Douglas392568
Nobles386847
Goodhue385568
Polk342762
McLeod339349
Beltrami337351
Morrison324247
Lyon313044
Itasca312746
Becker310941
Isanti305754
Carlton300149
Steele299711
Pine282016
Freeborn280523
Nicollet258141
Todd247830
Brown244637
Le Sueur235020
Mille Lacs227247
Cass219924
Waseca208917
Meeker207434
Martin189328
Wabasha18623
Roseau180217
Hubbard160640
Houston157314
Dodge15214
Renville149540
Redwood147027
Fillmore13728
Chippewa136335
Cottonwood134820
Pennington134116
Wadena130920
Faribault122917
Aitkin118933
Sibley117310
Watonwan11728
Rock115714
Kanabec107419
Pipestone101424
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9438
Jackson93510
Swift87918
Pope8025
Marshall77815
Stevens7418
Lake73718
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68316
Wilkin67110
Koochiching61811
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5062
Grant4918
Unassigned47968
Norman4768
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40821
Red Lake3625
Traverse3055
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 362189

Reported Deaths: 5414
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk58146549
Linn20653312
Scott18288207
Black Hawk16249291
Woodbury14961211
Johnson1383473
Dubuque13537194
Dallas1135890
Pottawattamie10765143
Story1021645
Warren555274
Clinton543284
Cerro Gordo533681
Webster518787
Marshall496272
Sioux494369
Buena Vista473236
Des Moines457661
Muscatine451191
Wapello4330108
Jasper416966
Plymouth394577
Lee375352
Marion359069
Jones294154
Henry292737
Carroll285548
Bremer280154
Crawford274735
Boone259630
Washington254147
Benton252854
Mahaska224346
Jackson221438
Dickinson217439
Tama213465
Kossuth208154
Clay193525
Hamilton192042
Delaware188839
Winneshiek188427
Buchanan185129
Fayette185035
Page183219
Hardin181039
Wright179731
Harrison179669
Cedar177923
Clayton168053
Butler166331
Mills163120
Floyd162740
Madison154518
Cherokee153935
Poweshiek153730
Hancock146829
Lyon145841
Allamakee145646
Iowa144423
Appanoose139147
Grundy139030
Jefferson138232
Winnebago138230
Cass134151
Calhoun133711
Mitchell130840
Louisa128241
Union126331
Chickasaw125213
Sac124218
Emmet121240
Shelby121033
Franklin118419
Humboldt117425
Guthrie116528
Palo Alto104921
Montgomery103936
Howard103121
Clarke100520
Unassigned9890
Keokuk98129
Monroe93128
Adair91928
Ida91032
Pocahontas85519
Davis82623
Monona81627
Greene77310
Lucas73821
Osceola70514
Worth6987
Taylor66412
Fremont5919
Decatur5789
Van Buren55918
Ringgold52020
Wayne48821
Audubon4869
Adams3264
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
19° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 5°
Mason City
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 9°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 14°
Feels Like: 8°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
19° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 13°
Feels Like: 5°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
18° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 15°
Feels Like: 4°
Mild conditions expected this week
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Community Events