A man walks across a snow-covered street in the Humboldt
Park neighbourhood in Chicago. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty
Residents of the Midwestern United States are bracing for
the coldest weather in two decades, temperatures that
forecasters warned would be life-threatening.
Icy conditions snarled travel across the region and thousands
of flights were canceled or delayed, some officials
preemptively closed schools, and at a New York City airport a
plane skidded off a runway into snow days after the Northeast
was hammered by the first winter storm of the season.
"The coldest temperatures in almost two decades will spread
into the northern and central U.S. today behind an arctic
cold front," the National Weather Service said in an advisory
posted on its website on Sunday. "Combined with gusty winds,
these temperatures will result in life-threatening wind chill
values as low as -60degF (-51degC)."
In weather that cold, frostbite can set in on uncovered skin
in a matter of minutes, experts warned.
But fans of the NFL's Green Bay Packers vowed to brave the
weather to see a playoff matchup that could stand as one of
the coldest ever games in league history.
In Green Bay, Wisconsin, football fan Jacquie Tucker Braun,
44, was undaunted by a forecast for temperatures below 0 F
(-18 C) when the Packers match up with the San Francisco
49ers later today.
"It's going to be a challenge to stay warm, but we're up to
it," said Braun, who plans to bring her 14-year-old son
Gryphon to the game. She is bundling up for the game, wearing
four layers on top and three layers on the bottom, along with
a two pairs of socks and two pairs of gloves.
"We will see the game to the end unless there was some type
of emergency," she said. "Being a Packers fan is in your
blood, hereditary even."
Officials at the Packers' Lambeau Field promised fans two
free hot cocoa or coffee drinks during the game, ESPN
Elsewhere in the Midwest, forecasters warned Chicago and
Indianapolis could see overnight lows of -12 F (-24 C),
Minneapolis -29 F (-34 C) and Fargo, North Dakota, -31 F (-35
C). The coldest temperature reported in the lower 48 states
on Sunday was -36 F (-38 C) in Crane Lake, Minnesota,
according to the National Weather Service.
The northeast was forecast to see a brief thaw before intense
cold returned late Monday.
About half of all flights arriving and departing Chicago
O'Hare International Airport had been canceled on Sunday,
according to FlightAware, which tracks flight statistics.
Nationwide, about 2,855 flights had been delayed nationwide
by midday and 2,332 had been canceled.
In New York City, John F. Kennedy International Airport was
closed for a couple of hours Sunday morning after a
Bombardier jet skidded off a taxiway soon after landing. The
Delta Connection flight had landed safely after arriving from
Toronto with 35 passengers on board, and no injuries were
reported, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey,
which runs the airport, said.
Officials in several states asked residents to use extra
precautions when outdoors.
Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has ordered all public schools
in the state closed on Monday to protect children from
dangerously cold weather.
Chicago schools will be open Monday despite the cold, but
officials, in a statement, advised parents to "use their own
discretion in deciding whether to send their child to
Between six inches and one foot (15-30 cm) of snow was
predicted from Chicago to Detroit, AccuWeather said, while
icy sleet and rain was forecast for much of the Northeast.