Coldest Air in 20 Years to Aim at Nation's Heartland

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
January 6, 2014; 5:19 AM ET
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A fresh blast of arctic air will deliver some of the coldest weather in 20 years to the country's midsection during the second half of the weekend and into the start of this week.

This brutal cold will bring danger to millions from the northern Plains to the Midwest and down into the Tennessee Valley. Overnight lows are forecast to dip well below the zero-degree mark in these areas, even dropping to 30 below zero in parts of Minnesota and North Dakota.

With temperatures more than 30 degrees below normal, residents of these regions will have to take extra precautions to stay protected from the harsh winter cold.

One of most dangerous aspects of this Arctic outbreak will be the gusty winds accompanying the subzero temperatures.

These winds will make it feel significantly colder and can pose danger for those spending prolonged periods of time in the outdoors.

This bone-chilling breeze helps to carry heat away from your body, heightening the risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

Although it is most commonly associated with extreme heat, dehydration is also a danger that people must be aware of when spending time in the cold.

AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures take into account different variables, such as wind speed, humidity and amount of sunlight, to determine how cold it feels.

The worst of the brutal cold will focus on the northern Plains and areas just west of the Great Lakes where temperatures are forecast to stay below zero degrees for more than 24 hours.

If the temperature in Chicago only gets to 6 below zero on Monday like currently forecast, it will be 5 degrees lower than it reached each of the last two winters.

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Hundreds of thousands of football fans heading out to the first round of playoff games this weekend will need to prepare for the bitter cold.

This is especially true for those headed to Green Bay on Sunday night where temperatures are forecast to remain below zero for the entirety of the game.

Looking ahead to Wednesday, the core of the arctic air will shift off to the north and east. This will allow for temperatures to slowly rise to near normal by the end of the week.

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