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So much for starting the new year off right.

Many residents on the East Coast and in the Midwest woke up to temperatures of 20 degrees below zero or worst on Monday, as a blast of arctic air descended on the regions. Talk about a rude awakening.

Reportedly, these areas will experience the lowest temperatures in two decades, making this cold weather front, or a polar vortex as meteorologist deem it, one for the history books.

In the grip of what meteorologists called a polar vortex, Minneapolis schools closed for the first time in 17 years. Class was also canceled in Chicago, which for the day took on the nickname “Chi-beria.”

The bitter air is set to reach the Mid-Atlantic region later Monday before spreading to the Southeast and New England. On Monday or Tuesday, freezing temperatures are forecast in every state but Hawaii.

It was 10 below on Monday morning in Green Bay, Wis., with a wind chill of minus 40 — even colder than Sunday, when some tailgaters at an NFL playoff game fired up second grills just for warmth, and others worried that their beer would freeze.

Twenty-six states were under warnings or watches for severe wind chill. Thousands of flights were canceled, and tens of thousands of people were without power in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin after a weekend snowstorm.

Bundling up, obviously, isn’t even a question.

But not just to keep warm. Kevin Roth, a lead meteorologist for The Weather Channel, said that anyone venturing outside without wrapping up risked frostbite in a matter of minutes or even seconds.

“This winter storm will be one for the record books,” said Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who on Sunday night encouraged people to stay inside unless absolutely necessary.

“These temperatures that will be out there will be lower than what’s in your freezer,” warned Greg Ballard, the mayor of Indianapolis.

In short — just stay inside if you can.

SOURCE: NBC | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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