The coldest weather in years will put millions of people and animals throughout the midwestern United States at risk for hypothermia and frostbite to occur in minutes during the final days of January.
The deep freeze has commenced across the Upper Midwest with an AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature of 75 degrees below zero Fahrenheit reported at Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Tuesday morning.
The worst is yet to come for other parts of the Midwest as the polar vortex gets displaced from the Arctic Circle and dives into the region.
"Some locations in the Midwest will be below zero continuously for 48-72 hours," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.
The harshest conditions are anticipated from North Dakota to northern Illinois, where there can be a prolonged stretch of dangerously low AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures that can cause frostbite in mere minutes.
On Wednesday, highs will stop well short of rising above 10 below zero from Fargo, North Dakota, to Minneapolis and Chicago. Highs in the single digits will have those from Kansas City, Missouri, to St. Louis to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Pittsburgh shivering.
Wednesday night can be just as cold, if not colder, than Tuesday night in many areas.
Temperatures in Chicago can drop to 22 below zero for the first time since the mid-1980s.