Arctic Blast’s National Impact

Posted at 6:33 AM, Jan 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-01-06 08:03:47-05

arctic blast(CNN) — Get ready for some of the coldest weather in decades.

About 140 million Americans are bracing for a polar blast that’s barreling across the country this week, shattering records along the way.

Much of the United States will see the coldest temperatures in almost 20 years, the National Weather Service said. Some cities will experience temperatures 30 to 50 degrees below average.

To put things in perspective, Monday’s weather in Atlanta and Nashville will be colder than in Anchorage, Alaska.

And by Wednesday, nearly half the nation will shudder in temperatures of zero or lower, forecasters said.

Unbelievable cold in the Midwest

At this point, even zero degrees sounds balmy.

The afternoon “high” temperatures in parts of the Midwest won’t even warm up to zero on Monday, the National Weather Service said.

Throw in some fierce winds, and you get winds chills like 55-below-zero in Duluth, Minnesota; 34-below-zero in Chicago; and 24-below-zero in St. Louis.

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