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Deep freeze grips Midwest with record-breaking low temperatures

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A winter storm is moving across the central Midwest creating travel hazards with up to one foot (30cm) of snow in some areas.

[NEW YORK] Surges of cold polar air are blasting the Midwest with the lowest temperatures in years, set to last until the end of the week. Temperatures in Chicago could drop to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 29 Celsius) for the first time since the mid-1990s.

"I cannot stress how dangerously cold it will be," said Mike Doll, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather. "An entire generation has gone by without experiencing this type of cold in the Chicago area."

Temperatures like this are known to cause frostbite, hypothermia, frozen pipes, dangerous driving conditions and vehicles that don't start. Energy use also tends to spike as people try to stay warm. An extended "polar vortex" cold streak in 2014 hurt multiple industries, contributing to a slowdown in corporate earnings growth.

The National Weather Service said a "potentially record-breaking push" of Arctic air will bring wind chills as low as minus 40 degrees to the Northern Plains and Great Lakes areas by Wednesday. That's the day Chicago is forecast to see its lowest daily high temperature ever -- minus 12, beating the record of minus 11 set in 1994.

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The Chicago National Weather Service tweeted about record-breaking cold on Sunday.

Delta issued weather waivers for 18 Midwest airports, including Chicago's O'Hare and Midway International Airports, for customers traveling to, from or through the airports on Monday, Jan. 28, ahead of winter weather forecast for the area.

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