The system was set to extend from the Dakotas through New England, with Chicago expecting temperatures to plunge as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit (-32 Celsius) overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, the weather service said. O'Hare had delays of about 50 minutes, while delays were about 15 minutes at Midway. Wind chills as low as 55 degrees below zero were possible, prompting a windchill watch.
On Tuesday, the snow storm was expected to move to the northeast, where it could dump another 8 to 12 inches of snow in some areas. "If temperatures can cool quick enough before the precipitation ends, the chance exists for a little snow or sleet", said Chief Meteorologist Hank Allen.
While Winnipeg, southern Manitoba - well, really the entire province - has been dealing with significant cold weather lately, the daily mean temperature as of January 28 is still slightly above normal. Madison, Wisconsin's temperature sank to a record-crushing -23°F (-30°C) on Saturday, its lowest temperature in almost 23 years.
Snowplow drivers had trouble keeping up with the snow in Wisconsin and Minnesota, where up to 14 inches is expected. "Many accidents can be avoided by taking extra time and being respectful of other motorists", said OEMC First Deputy, Rich Guidice. The coldest daytime high in Chicago was minus 11 on Christmas Eve 1983.
The city's Monday afternoon temperatures will stay in the low-20s before dipping back to zero degrees at night, the NWS said.
"The lows Tuesday and Wednesday could break records set in 1966".
In Wisconsin, plow drivers were having a hard time keeping up with the snow in Sheboygan.
Courthouses and most offices were closed in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Columbia and Washington counties, while more than three dozen flights were canceled early Monday at the Milwaukee area's largest airport, Mitchell International Airport.
The National Weather Service says blizzard conditions were reported Sunday in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota.
While accumulations are forecast to be on the order of 1 to 3 inches, the abrupt transition to snow will result in rapidly deteriorating driving conditions.