CHICAGO (AP) — A second deep freeze in weeks locked the Midwest in its icy grip Monday, prompting schools to close, airlines to cancel flights and the mass mobilization of emergency crews to dig out major roadways.
From Chicago, where parents were forced to bringing their kids to work or call in sick to stay home and care for them, to South Dakota, where officials were warning about treacherous driving conditions, this latest round of subzero highs in many parts of the Midwest had many people wondering when it would end.
"I'm moving to Alaska where it's warmer," Kathy Berg said in jest — though it's in fact true of current weather conditions — as she arrived by train for her job in Chicago wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt, sweatshirt, polar fleece hoodie, winter coat, knit cap, two scarves and two pair of gloves.
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 18 in Dayton, Ohio; minus 14 in Kansas City, Mo.; and minus 3 in Louisville, Ky.
By sunrise Monday, weather forecasters in Chicago were telling viewers that the high temperature for the day had already come and gone and that the low may reach minus 4 degrees with wind chills at 40 below.
It was the same in Nebraska and Iowa, where the weather service issued warnings for both subzero temperatures and wind chills that could reach minus 40 degrees — a forecast that had Amy Henry, an employee at a 24-hour drug store in Omaha thinking enough was enough.
"I just look at my (apartment) pool every day and say, 'Oh, come on, summer,'" said Henry, 36.
Meanwhile, at Donutville U.S.A. in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, a couple of guys said they weren't going to let a little cold keep them from their morning cruller.
"We're here every day — we never miss," said Angelo Barile, a 72-year-old retired owner of an Italian bakery.
Traveling in many places remained treacherous Monday. Officials in many states urged people to stay off the roads, including in Indiana where 50 mph gusts were recorded early in the day. And in Michigan, parts of which have experienced their snowiest January on record, weather-related crashes killed three people over the weekend and roads remained slick.