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'Polar vortex' brings arctic cold to East Coast

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As you step outside early Monday morning, enjoy the warmth. Monday morning's mid-30s temperature will be the high for the day according to the National Weather Service.

Winter will arrive with a blast of arctic air on Monday. A weather event known as a 'polar vortex' will sweep toward the East Coast, causing temperatures to plummet into the 20s by late Monday.

Monday's overnight low will fall to near 0. Tuesday's weather will be more of the same, with high temperatures in the teens and an overnight low in the single digits.

Sub-zero wind chills are in the forecast for both Monday and Tuesday. Frostbite is a concern for those spending more than 30 minutes outdoors. Hats and gloves are essential for anyone venturing out in the cold.

Many school systems to the west have cancelled schools because of the cold. By order of Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, all public schools in the state are closed Monday.

Parents should be aware of the symptoms of frostbite and hypothermia, which are both caused by exposure to extreme cold temperatures.

Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white appearance in the extremities, such as fingers, toes, earlobes and tip of the nose. Seek medical attention immediately for these symptoms if you've been outside.

Hypothermia symptoms include uncontrollable shivering, slurred speech, drowsiness, exhaustion and disorientation. If a person's body temperature falls below 95 degrees, hypothermia can occur. Seek medical attention immediately.

If hypothermia symptoms occur, the body's core should be warmed slowly to avoid heart failure. Dress the person in warm, dry clothing and wrap the body with a blanket. Do not give the person hot foods or liquids until the body has warmed.

Young children, the elderly and those who work outdoors are most at risk for frostbite and hypothermia. Pets should also be kept indoors during extreme cold temperatures.

Beware of black ice on the roads if you must travel. Clear icy patches on the road are difficult to see, especially when driving in the dark.

Temperatures will warm up by mid-week, just ahead of possible freezing rain or snow showers at the end of the week. Keep warm and stay indoors if possible.

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