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Midwest’s Bitter Cold Just a Walk in the Park — in Antarctica

The bitterly cold wind chills headed this way are certainly dangerous, but the Midwest holds no claim to being the nation’s icebox.

The region may be on the verge of cracking it’s record low temperature of -14 degrees, and Midwesterners might take pride in their winter-weather survival skills, but in the greater scheme of things, this is more like a walk in an Antarctica park.


Seth Borenstein of The Associated Press reported Dec. 9, 2013 set a record low of -135.8 in Aug. 2010. on July 31, 2013, it approached that record again, dropping to -135.3 degrees.


Yup, that’s about 100 degrees colder than the -33 wind chill we’re expected to see in Kane and DuPage counties on Monday — the difference, of course, being that the temperature in Antarctica was straight up, without the wind.


By the way, when temperatures get that low, Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center told The Associated Press scientists in Antarctica actually breathe through snorkels that bring air into their coats through the sleeves, so that the air can warm up a bit before it hits the lungs.


Still, that’s not to make light of the potential danger subzero wind chills pose. CNN was reporting early Sunday morning, Jan. 5, 2014, that the cold has killed at least 13 people — 11 killed in road accidents and two who died of hypothermia.


By Wednesday, CNN reports that 140 million people — almost half the U.S. population — will be trying to keep warm in temperatures of zero degrees or colder.


Looking around the nation — closer to home than Antarctica — the coldest cold gets a little warmer. Prospect Creek, Alaska, has the nation’s record low at -79.8 degrees.


Embarrass, Minn., expected to begin to approach that this week. CNN reports that residents expect to break their town’s record low of 64 below, although not by enough to break Prospect Creek’s record.


A quick look at The Weather Channel’s Current Temperature map at 4:30 a.m. Sunday showed the lowest temperature in the lower 48 states was -23 in northern Minnesota.


And it’s headed this way.


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