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Much of the U.S. braces itself for record setting cold weather

Time Square becomes a winter playground
Time Square becomes a winter playground
CNN News

It was announced by the National Weather Service today that most of the nation will experience arctic like cold weather shattering record set more than 20 years ago. The phenomenon known as the "Polar Vortex" will bring cold air stored up at the North Pole as far south as the Gulf Coast. The cold weather is expected to affect at least 140 million Americans.

The weather conditions in the United States has already caused at least 3,000 air flights either originating in the U.S. or heading to the U.S. to be cancelled. Atlanta, Ga which is known as "Hotlanta" is expected to wake up on Monday morning experiencing temperatures around 5 degrees.

Many schools which has been closed for the Christmas holidays will get additional days off in anticipation of weather conditions too cold for normal activities. Temperatures across the nation are expected to be 35 to 50 degrees below temperatures which are normal for this time of the year. In Minnesota there has been no such school closing in more than 17 years. The low temperatures and wind chill are a dangerous recipe for rapid frostbite or hypothermia.

"Exposed flesh can freeze in as little as five minutes with wind chills colder than 50 below," the National Weather Service's Twin Cities office in Minnesota said.

This phenomenon is not to be treated as normal winter weather and extra precautions should be taken. The elderly and the homeless are extremely vulnerable under these conditions and pets should be brought inside to protect them from the frigid weather conditions.