Meteorologist Tyler Hasenstein of the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, Minnesota, says parts of far southeastern Minnesota into western Wisconsin could see a foot to 14 inches of snow.
The most severe outbreak of frigid Arctic air in years is set to surge over the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes by the middle of this week.
As far as daily record lows, Wednesday's record low of -15 degrees and high of 3 degrees could both likely be broken.
The polar vortex, for those of us who forgot, is a large area of low pressure and cold air above the North Pole (the South Pole has its own similar low pressure system).
CNN reported 20 cities have the potential to break record lows Wednesday and Thursday morning.
"This arctic front - that, along with already cold weather, is the main reason why we could experience exceptionally cold temperatures and winds", Lee said. It is too soon to give an exact projection of the strength of the frigid blast, but forecasters are predicting temperatures could fall as much as 40 to 50 degrees lower than usual for places affected. Minneapolis, Minn., last dropped to 25 below on December 25, 1996, and Milwaukee, Wis., was last 15 below on January 5, 1999.
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Madison, Wis., set a daily record low of 23 degrees below zero on early Saturday - the coldest morning since February 3, 1996.
Still worse - and what's even more unsafe - is the wind chill.
"There's no sugarcoating it, the weather will get extremely cold", tweeted the Weather Service office serving the Twin Cities.
A winter storm is headed for the Midwest this weekend and it's expected to be a big one.
The National Weather Service said in its forecast discussion that a "potentially record breaking push" of Arctic air will inundate the Northern Plains and Great Lakes by Wednesday, bringing wind chills as low as -40 degrees in many locations. Some of this teeth-chattering cold will spill into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast as well, but it won't be quite as extreme.
Chicago, North Dakota, Minnesota, New York, Philadelphia, and more major cities are told to anticipate the huge temperature drop.