Bitter cold weather breaks records in Midwest, Plains

St. Louis firefighters try to decide how to de-ice the front of Hook and Ladder 2 while water is sprayed on a six-story high warehouse in 8 degree temperatures in St. Louis on Sunday. Two homeless people were rescued from the vacant building that burned throughout the night. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 (UPI) — A second arctic blast in the past week plunged the Midwest and Plains into record-breaking cold Sunday.

More than three dozen record lows were set this weekend as actual temperatures hit 20 to 30 below zero and wind chill dropped as low as 50 below zero.

The record lows reached as far south as Oklahoma (Tulsa was 3 and Oklahoma City 4) Sunday, and the Texas Panhandle (Amarillo hit 0 on Saturday). A temperature drop of 40 to 50 degrees occurred in a few hours in those states.

The minus-16 degree reading Sunday morning in Dodge City, KS., was the second lowest for a December since records began there in 1874. The low of minus 10 degrees in Wichita, KS., tied as the third coldest December low temperature in the city dating to 1888.

The minus-37 degree reading in Aberdeen, S.D., on Sunday morning was accompanied by wind chill of minus 58 degrees.

Portions of Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota had some of the coldest weather in two years.

Bitterly cold temperatures in Chicago were forecast to bring wind chills as low as -25 for the Chicago Green Bay-Green Bay Packers game at Soldier Field. A high of 9 and a low of minus-12 was forecast for Sunday, according to Weather Underground.

The low so far in Chicago was 7 degree at midday and the record was -11 in 1983.

St. Louis’ low was 6 degrees Sunday, a little higher than the record low of -4 in 1983.

Frigid temperatures in the Midwest and Plains will continue before returning to near mid-December averages by Wednesday.

But the cold front was making its way across the Eastern Seaboard on Sunday morning, according to meteorologists.

New York, Washington and Boston already had wind chill ranging from minus 10 to minus 35 degrees in some locations.

The cold weather, accompanied by freezing rain, created treacherous road conditions.

At least six people died in Virginia, Maryland and Oklahoma because of the dangerous road conditions, authorities said.

In Baltimore, at least two people are dead and motorists were stranded for hours in a 55-vehicle crash on an icy stretch of Interstate 95.

In northern Virginia, authorities responded to more than 40 traffic accidents, according to the state police.

Chicago police said a United Airlines plane skidded off a runway early Sunday at O’Hare International Airport. No injuries were reported from the incident just after 1 a.m.

On Sunday morning, 168 flights were canceled at O’Hare and 28 at Midway.

Nationally, 1,402 flights were canceled and another 7,407 were delayed through Sunday afternoon, according to flight-tracking service FlightAware.

On Saturday, more than 1,000 flights were canceled.


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