Another winter day, another below-zero high temperature for many parts of the Midwest — at least, it seems that way. The deep chill has returned, bringing with it wind chills ranging from the negative teens to 40s, school cancellations and sighs of resignation from residents who are weary of bundling up.

A persistent weather pattern that's driving Arctic air south will drop temperatures for about 2½ days, starting overnight Sunday. Actual temperatures will range from the teens in northern Kentucky to double-digits below zero in Minnesota, but wind chills will be even colder — minus 43 in Minneapolis, minus 23 in Chicago, minus 18 in Dayton, Ohio, minus 14 in Kansas City, Mo., and minus 3 in Louisville, Ky.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Blair stopped short of calling the latest round of cold part of the polar vortex, a system of winds that circulate around the North Pole.

“There's really nothing abnormal about the air that's coming into the area,” he said. “It's just been a very persistent pattern” of cold air.

Blair said it's an amplified pattern of the jet stream, with cold air filtering in behind a large trough of low pressure. Simplifying, he explained: “Troughs are typically associated with unstable or unsettled weather, and, at this time of the year, much colder air.”


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Frigid temperatures are expected to hold into Tuesday. If Chicago makes it to 60 hours below zero, it will be the longest stretch since 1983 — when it was below zero for 98 hours — and the third longest in 80 years.

Chicago Public Schools called off Monday's classes for its nearly 400,000 students, as did suburban districts. Earlier this month, when it was below zero for 36 straight hours, CPS closed for two days.

In the northern U.S., North Dakota and South Dakota residents dealt with dangerous cold and wind gusts Sunday that reached up to 60 mph — blowing snow to the point where it was nearly impossible to travel in some spots. The winds weren't as strong in Indiana, but officials there still restricted vehicle traffic or recommended only essential travel in more than half of its counties.

In Michigan, expressways closed as snow and subfreezing temperatures played a role in multiple crashes Sunday; at least three people died over the weekend because of weather-related accidents.

Even the nation's northernmost city, Barrow, Alaska, will be warmer than much of the Upper Midwest on Monday; it's expected to reach minus 4.