The worst of the first surge of Arctic air, unleashed by the polar vortex, is exiting the East Coast. But a second assault, focused on the central United States and Great Lakes, is charging south this weekend.

Cities that will catch the brunt of this second blast include Minneapolis, Des Moines and Chicago. The chill is poised to arrive Saturday into Sunday morning.

“Models pull double-digit negative numbers into the Dakotas and Minnesota by Sunday morning, the coldest air temperatures in nearly three years for many cities,” wrote meteorologist Paul Douglas for the Star Tribune.

The temperature in Minneapolis may plunge to minus-20 or even a bit colder. “It may be academic, but we could see the coldest air in three to 20 years,” said Paul Huttner, meteorologist for Minnesota Public Radio.


Sunday morning wind chills are predicted to be between minus-20 and minus-40 in the entirety of the Dakotas and Minnesota. The National Weather Service has issued windchill warnings, cautioning that “the dangerously cold wind chills will cause frostbite in as little as 10 minutes to exposed skin.”

The cold will reach Chicago on Sunday, when high the temperature is forecast to be only 2 degrees, “likely the coldest day of 2016″ according to the Weather Service. Wind chills late Sunday could near minus-30.


The game between the Bears and Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon (kickoff at 1 p.m. Eastern) could be the coldest game in Chicago history.


“You’ve just got to go out there and man up and go play the game,” Bears wide receiver Cameron Meredith told CNN.

On Monday morning, Chicago’s low is expected to be around minus-13, very close to the record low for the date of minus-14 from 1983.

The core of the cold will curl back into Canada on Monday rather than plow toward the East Coast like the first blast. Just the tail of this second cold pool will skirt the East, and it will be noticeably less intense than the first wave.

The first wave brought record cold to several locations in the East on Friday morning:

  • Syracuse, N.Y., broke a 99-year record, plunging to minus-2 Friday morning.
  • Dulles Airport, outside Washington, D.C., hit 9 degrees, a degree below the record of 10 from 1989.
  • Norfolk, Conn., tied a record low of minus-2

While not a record, Boston’s low of 4 degrees Friday was the lowest December temperature in the city since 1989, reported.

Perhaps the most impressive cold descended on Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire, where it was a frigid minus-35 degrees Friday morning, the second-coldest location in the world. At the time, it logged a mind-blowing wind chill of minus-86 as winds gusted to 70 mph.