Brrr! Blast of Arctic Air Invades Midwest, Northeast

A woman walks down a New York City street on Tuesday

Elijah Decoster claims cold weather doesn’t bother him – not even the sub-zero temperatures that descended on his hometown of Saint Paul, Minnesota, Monday night.

“I’ve been out in the weather plenty of times when it’s freezing cold,” Elijah told Saint Paul TV station KSTP, while he and his friends played hockey.  “No problem.”

However, when it comes to frigid weather, not everyone has Elijah’s positive attitude – even in areas where cold winter weather is common.

A blast of Arctic air has sent temperatures tumbling to their lowest levels in two years in some parts of the Midwest and Northeast.

And after months of record-setting warmth, a lot of people just aren’t used to it.

“It’s hard for you to, like, have fun, because you can’t really do anything because it’s too cold,” said Quinncy Little, a fourth-grader at Oscar Howe Elementary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in an interview with Sioux Falls TV station KSFY.

On Wednesday, the temperature in Sioux Falls was expected to fall below zero in the early morning, before hitting a “high” in the teens.

So this week, the kids at Oscar Howe have reportedly been told to stay indoors during recess.

Many other schools are doing the same thing, including MacArthur Elementary in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

“We have games like bowling and jump around,” said 11-year-old Leo Farrow, in an interview with Green Bay TV station WGBA.

But some kids would still rather be outside.

“I think it’s a bummer,” MacArthur Elementary student Caziah White told WGBA reporter Jennifer Dodd, when asked about indoor recess.

Green Bay’s temperature was expected to drop to -4 Wednesday morning, with a high of only 15.

In temperatures like that, one expert said you can get frostbite in as little as five minutes.

In fact, it’s been so cold in Wisconsin that at least two weather-related deaths were reported there as of Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Illinois and Minnesota each reported a weather-related death as well.

Across the Midwest and the Great Lakes region, it’s so cold that some schools decided to close altogether on Tuesday.

That included the schools in Duluth, Minnesota – a city that’s normally used to icy weather.

On Tuesday, officials called off classes as the temperature fell to a low of 11 below.

And Wednesday was expected to be even colder – a low of -15 and a high of only zero.

One hundred miles north of Duluth, it was North Pole-cold on Tuesday — -38 in Babbitt, Minnesota.

That was the coldest temperature in the United States – 23 degrees colder than Barrow, Alaska!

And all that frigid air moved into the Northeast as the day moved on.

Early Wednesday, temperatures in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, New York, were all in the single digits.

On top of that, as much as 18 inches of snow has fallen along the Great Lakes in New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to Reuters news service.

Of course, it’s January.

And in a lot of places, this is what winter normally looks like.

If you go outside, just make sure you’re wearing your hat, your scarf, your boots, your gloves, your warmest coat – and maybe an extra layer or two of clothes underneath.

If you start feeling a burning or tingling sensation anywhere, it’s time to take a break and go inside.

It’s also best to change clothes if you get wet.

But there’s no reason to be afraid of the cold, so long as you’re properly dressed for it.

In Eau Claire, Wisconsin, Flynn Elementary School fifth-grader Trista Herman had the right idea on Tuesday.

“I have a super-thick jacket with a liner in it,” she told Eau Claire TV station WEAU, “and a really warm hat and a scarf and really warm gloves.”

Bundle up again on Wednesday, Trista – Thursday, too.

It looks like it’s going to be cold for a while.