By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Some of the coldest air in four years has plunged into the Midwest
and will spread to the 50 million people living in the Northeast by
Tuesday, where temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing
throughout the day.
Frigid temperatures and gusty winds brought
wind-chill values down to 25 to 50 degrees below zero Monday morning
across the upper Midwest.
The wind chill bottomed out at -51 in
Langdon, N.D., early Monday morning, thanks to a temperature of -22
degrees combined with a wind of 17 mph, reports Weather Underground
meteorologist Jeff Masters.
This level of wind chill can lead to
"dangerous outdoor conditions, including the threat for frostbite and
possibly hypothermia or death," warned the National Weather Service.
Exposed skin can freeze in 10 minutes or less when wind chills are colder than 30 degrees below zero.
afternoon, wind chill advisories and warnings were in place all the way
from North Dakota to North Carolina, a distance of more than 1,000
The temperature in Des Moines on Monday morning of -2
degrees ended a record-setting streak by dropping below zero for the
first time in 710 days, the weather service reported.
Minneapolis, Monday's forecast high of -3 degrees will likely be the
first day with a subzero high temperature in just over four years; the
last one was Jan. 15, 2009, according to Weather Channel meteorologist
Nick Wiltgen. The city, notorious for its frigid winters, has never
recorded such a long spell without a subzero high in 141 years of record
Fortunately for the hundreds of thousands of people
outdoors in Washington, D.C., for the inauguration on Monday, the arctic
blast had not moved in by midday. The relatively mild noontime
temperature of 40 degrees was 16 degrees warmer than Tuesday's forecast
high and 12 degrees warmer than Obama's first inauguration four years
By midafternoon, the temperature in Washington had risen to 46 degrees, very nice weather for the Inaugural parade.
the jet stream blasting straight south out of northern Canada, cold air
will flood the eastern two-thirds of the country by Tuesday and
Wiltgen reports that all cities along the I-95 corridor
from Boston to Washington will see highs in the 20s Tuesday. Single
digits and teens for highs are likely from northern New England to
western New York and western Pennsylvania. These cold temperatures will
stay in place across the Northeast into Wednesday, he adds.
Wind chill advisories and warnings were in place in 16 states as of Monday afternoon as far south as Boone, N.C.
addition to the bitter cold, lake-effect snow will fly downwind of the
Great Lakes. Lake-effect snow warnings have been posted from Cleveland
to Buffalo. Some locations downwind of Lake Erie could see 20 inches of
snow by Tuesday night, according to AccuWeather.
Contributing: Regina Zilbermints, Des Moines Register