- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 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.


USS Monitor work goes dark as US dollars dwindle

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) - When the turret of the USS Monitor was hoisted from the ocean floor in 2002, the real heavy lifting was just beginning: conserving and restoring more than 200 tons of Civil War ironclad artifacts.

The task went to The Mariners’ Museum. Now, diminishing federal dollars have darkened a lab containing the revolving turret and other large pieces, closing to the public a window on the nation’s maritime history and delaying possibly by decades their public display.

The museum has seen a steady decline in annual funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration amid budget cuts and shifting federal priorities. The private museum was designated by Congress as the official repository for the artifacts, but museum officials say they can’t do it alone.

The museum’s president and CEO, Elliot Gruber, said the 5,000-square-foot lab containing the turret, two Dahlgren guns and the Monitor’s steam engine will remain dark until the federal government restores funding levels. The museum, he said, can’t pour more money into the project while sustaining its own vast collections of maps, books, paintings and other exhibits - 35,000 pieces all told.

Gruber framed the dilemma.

“How do we continue with the conservation effort in an era when funding is harder and harder to obtain, and how does NOAA honor its obligation to the American people to continue the conservation work and put these on display?” he asked in an interview.

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