- Associated Press - Sunday, January 26, 2014
Persistent below-zero temps visit Midwest again

CHICAGO (AP) - Another winter day, another below-zero high temperature for many parts of the Midwest - at least, it seems that way. The deep chill has returned, bringing with it wind chills ranging from the negative teens to 40s, school cancellations and sighs of resignation from residents who are weary of bundling up.

A persistent weather pattern that’s driving Arctic air south will drop temperatures for about 2½ days, starting overnight Sunday. Actual temperatures will range from the teens in northern Kentucky to double-digits below zero in Minnesota, but wind chills will be even colder - minus 43 in Minneapolis, minus 23 in Chicago, minus 18 in Dayton, Ohio, minus 14 in Kansas City, Mo., and minus 3 in Louisville, Ky.

“I’m sick of it,” Chicago resident Matt Ryan, 19, said Sunday on his way to his family’s home in the suburb of Oak Park.

“I came home to steal a scarf from my parents,” he said. Ryan’s plan for Monday, when the high is forecast to be a mere minus 4 degrees and the wind chills could dip to 40 below: Dress in layers, carry hand warmers and wear long underwear.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Scott Blair stopped short of calling the latest round of cold part of the polar vortex, a system of winds that circulate around the North Pole.

“There’s really nothing abnormal about the air that’s coming into the area,” he said. “It’s just been a very persistent pattern” of cold air.

Blair said it’s an amplified pattern of the jet stream, with cold air filtering in behind a large trough of low pressure. Simplifying, he explained: “Troughs are typically associated with unstable or unsettled weather, and, at this time of the year, much colder air.”

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Wis. lawmaker offers pollution-reduction option

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - State Sen. Rob Cowles has introduced a bill designed to encourage industrial polluters to fund efforts to reduce farm pollution.

The measure would allow wastewater-treatment plants and other producers of phosphorus to delay their own reduction efforts if they helped pay for efforts to cut farm runoff, Press-Gazette Media reported (http://gbpg.net/1e0MoOhhttp://gbpg.net/1e0MoOh ).

Cowles, R-Allouez, said he’s concerned about oxygen-deficient areas in the waters of Green Bay and elsewhere. He said the so-called dead zones point to a need to rein in phosphorus runoff from the largest contributors - agriculture and urban storm water.

“Green Bay’s dead zone is similar to sections of Lake Erie and the Gulf of Mexico, where there’s so little oxygen that fish and aquatic organisms struggle to survive,” he said.

Industrial polluters are already cutting down on the amount of phosphorus they discharge into state waterways. Tougher government standards call for more cuts, but Cowles says those reductions will be expensive and only marginally helpful.

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