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Warmer In Parts Of The Arctic: Polar Vortex Ushering In Dangerous Chill, How To Prep For The Cold

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The coldest weather we've seen in decades is heading into Pittsburgh.

Just 48 hours from now, we are expecting feel-like temperatures to be in the negative 20s. Much of the Midwest is already feeling the cold.

A polar vortex will cause bone-chilling temperatures to plummet even lower, bringing threats of hypothermia and frostbite into next weekend.

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"Three sweatshirts under here, and two t-shirts, and three thermals. Gotta be prepared out here," said mail carrier Mario Evans.

The winter weather has already wreaked havoc on roads. Whiteout conditions led to multiple accidents on I-90 in Erie, the interstate was closed so emergency officials could clear the scene.

In Wisconsin, the first day of a snowmobile race was cancelled because of the extreme weather.

"We had tremendous cold temperatures and snow dust, and the drivers could not see where they were going," said Ralph Merwin, an organizer of the event.

As the polar vortex plunges into the United States, meteorologists say it will be warmer in parts of the Arctic than in Chicago and Minneapolis.

The polar vortex rarely plunges as far south as the United States. The last big plunge was Jan. 6, 2014 when Chicago's temperature dipped to minus-16.

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Of course, there are a few things you can do to prepare for the cold, especially around the house.

First, protect your pipes. Water expands as it freezes, which can cause your pipes to crack and burst. So it's a good idea to leave faucets dripping in the very cold weather to prevent them from freezing.

Also, change your furnace filter because clogged filters are less efficient, which means your home might not warm properly.

Watch Susan Koeppen's report --


Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. Set the blades to turn clockwise, to circulate warm air from the ceiling down into the room.

Finally, seal places that may allow warm air to leak from your home to your attic, such as around vent pipes and exhaust fans.

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