NOAA map of "polar votex" forecast to barrel down into the Midwest to the Gulf Coast beginning Sunday, Jan. 3, 2014
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Winter is normally cold, but tundra-like temperatures are soon poised to deliver a rare and potentially dangerous sledgehammer blow to much of the Midwest, driving temperatures so far below zero that records will shatter.
One reason, according to one meteorologist, is a "polar vortex" that will send cold air piled up at the North Pole down to the U.S., funneling it as far south as the Gulf Coast.
Temperature records will likely be broken during the short, yet forceful deep freeze that will begin in many places on Sunday and extend into early next week.
Cities and states are taking precautions. Minnesota called off school for Monday, the first such closing in 17 years, because of projected highs in the minus teens and lows as cold as 30 below.
The Associated Press