(Adds comments from Wisconsin; more school closings)
By Mary Wisniewski
CHICAGO Jan 27 Bitter cold and high winds
surging down from the Arctic pushed wind chills to dangerous
lows across the U.S. upper Midwest on Monday, forcing officials
to close schools and warn drivers off roads, and slowing public
transit and river traffic.
Chicago, Minneapolis, Milwaukee and other parts of the upper
Midwest are forecast to have two consecutive days of subzero
highs on Monday and Tuesday, while most of the Northeast will
see highs in the single digits and teens on Tuesday and
Wednesday, according to Accuweather.com.
National Weather Service meteorologist Andrew Krein blamed
the weather on a surge of arctic high pressure out of Canada
that has spread over the upper Midwest and central plains.
Even weather-hardy Midwesterners expressed weariness on
Monday with the sub-zero cold snap, the second this month.
"I'm real sick of it," said Romik Stewart, 20, who was
waiting for a bus in Milwaukee to go to his job at a fast food
restaurant. "I've had enough of this already. It's too much."
Officials closed schools in Chicago, Milwaukee, Cincinnati
and the Cleveland area and in most districts across Minnesota on
Monday due to the biting cold. Chicago and Milwaukee public
schools also will be closed Tuesday, as will the Indianapolis
The frigid temperatures also are causing ice to accumulate
on the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, slowing the movement of
grain barges to the U.S. Gulf, according to Drew Lerner, a
meteorologist at World Weather Inc.
"I'm very ready for the spring," said 18-year-old Caroline
Burns, a student at Marquette University in Milwaukee, as she
walked from her residence hall to class.
Nearly 900 flights have been canceled within, into and out
of the United States on Monday, according to FlightAware.com,
which tracks flights.
Even the south is seeing extremes this week.
Wind gusts of up to 35 mph (56 km) knocked down power lines
in the Dallas-Forth Worth area in Texas and temperatures were
expected to fall into the 20s overnight from highs in the 60s
and 70s over the weekend, the weather service said.
Galveston, Texas, public schools and most schools in New
Orleans will be closed on Tuesday due to winter weather,
according to officials and media reports.
Heavy snow was expected starting on Tuesday across eastern
North Carolina, while coastal South Carolina will get rare ice
accumulation with some snow and temperatures below freezing on
Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the National Weather
In Alaska, the roughly 4,000 residents of Valdez remained
cut off to road traffic from the rest of the state Monday after
weekend avalanches blocked the road into and out of the coastal
town, officials said.
(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Additional reporting by Brendan
O'Brien in Milwaukee, Julie Ingwersen in Chicago, David Bailey
in Minneapolis, Kim Palmer in Cleveland, Colleen Jenkins in
Winston-Salem, N.C., Harriet McLeod in Charleston, S.C., and
Karen Brooks in Austin; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)