Frigid air, whipping wind hold U.S. midsection in grip -- again

Jan. 27, 2014 at 2:48 PM
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MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The southern United States -- known for warm breezes, not snowflakes -- could see ice and snow from an arctic system that zapped most of the nation Monday.

High temperatures are forecast to be in the 30s as far south as the Interstate-10 corridor from Houston to Pensacola, Fla., and Charleston, S.C., Tuesday, forecasters said. Because of the cold air, a storm system will tap into enough moisture from the Gulf of Mexico to allow snow and ice to develop from central Texas to the eastern Carolinas Tuesday through Wednesday, reported.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm watches, warnings and advisories from southeast Texas east toward the Gulf Coast through Georgia, parts of the Carolinas and far southeastern Virginia. forecasters said the amount of precipitation could be substantial, leading to school closures, dangerous travel conditions and flight cancellations.

Meanwhile, the nation's midsection again caught a blast of frigid air that sent surface temperatures and wind chill values well below zero. School districts across Minnesota canceled classes, many for the fourth time since Jan. 6 because of the weather. The University of Minnesota also canceled classes Monday.

Schools and businesses were closed throughout the region because of the temperatures.

Minnesota caught the brunt of the latest blast of arctic air, with temperatures tumbling lower than 20 below zero near the Canadian border. Minneapolis residents awoke to 16 below, with a wind chill value of minus 36.

On Sunday, white-out conditions prompted road closures and alerts to dangerous driving conditions for highways across Minnesota and in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported. Wind gusts approached 50 mph in some spots Sunday.

When the University of Minnesota canceled classes Monday, former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak tweeted: "The UofM just canceled school on the first day I was supposed to teach. Coincidence or afraid of what could come out of my mouth?"

The Chicago area, as was much of the Midwest, was under a wind chill alert.

Wind-tossed snow made the morning commute in and around Chicago dangerous, the Chicago Tribune reported. Hundreds of schools called off classes Monday, including Chicago Public Schools.

Indiana officials restricted travel in more than half of the state's counties.

The Detroit metro area received between 3 and 3.5 inches of snow along with the polar blast, the Detroit Free Press reported. Overnight temperatures were expected to drop to minus 10 degrees then climb to 3 above Tuesday.

The Free Press said metro Detroit has received 37.1 inches of snow since New Year's Day.

Western Michigan University canceled classes Monday because of the cold -- the third snow day for the university's students this month, reported.

Western Michigan's record of closings indicated the university hasn't had three snow days in the same month in more than 15 years.

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