Record lows in U.S. Midwest, Northeast brace for Arctic blast

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Many parts of the U.S. Midwest braced for a blast of Arctic air this weekend that could bring some of the coldest temperatures in two decades before advancing to the Northeast, where residents are still digging out from a deadly snowstorm.

Starting Sunday, the deep freeze will be felt in the northern U.S. plains, including North and South Dakota, and through the Great Lakes region and Ohio Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

It will be some of the coldest weather to grip the region in two decades, with blizzard conditions expected in the Central Plains and Great Lakes regions, forecasters said.

“The last really big Arctic outbreak was 1994, said Bob Oravec, a forecaster with the National Weather Service. “Outbreaks like this don’t occur every day. They aren’t unheard of, but they are unusual.”

This push of Arctic air could bring record low temperatures in areas from Montana to Michigan, and move to the Northeast where it will arrive by early Tuesday, forecasters said.

Chicago could be about negative 20 (minus 29 Celsius), he said. Pittsburgh could see temperatures about 11 degrees below zero Fahrenheit (minus 24 Celsius) by early Tuesday.

“Incredibly, it may feel as cold as negative 50 to negative 60 (minus 45 to minus 51 Celsius) on Sunday night over sections of the north-central states,” including Minnesota and Wisconsin, the National Weather Service said in a statement.

In those conditions, frostbite can set in on exposed skin within five minutes, forecasters warned.