The all-time record low in Cedar Rapids is 29 below set in 2009. There's no doubt here (and in many other parts of the Midwest) lows will be within striking distance of that benchmark. It's a dubious honor but in my opinion if we're going to be that cold (and we will), it might as well be 30 below so we can set the record and make history. Afterall, what's another degree or two when it's that cold? Trust me, you won't know the difference.
One thing I do want to emphasize is how dangerous this type of extreme cold is. Exposed skin will freeze in less than 5 minutes, especially when wind chills reach minus 50. Pets and animals are also susceptible to these frigid conditions so please make sure they get the care and protection they need as well.
This is a timeline prepared by the NWS showing when wind chills will be at their worst.
The reason for the intense cold can be seen GEFS streamline ensemble. It depicts the 84 hour movement of air masses at 500mb. Look how the cold comes directly south out of the Arctic Circle. We are sitting ducks!
These are locations where record lows are expected Wednesday morning.
Records anticipated Thursday morning.
Another amazing aspect of the cold will be the inability to warm-up during the day. Here you can see locations where record cold high temperatures are expected Wednesday....many places 15 to 20 below zero.
For comparison sake, these are the coldest lows forecast on the GFS
These are the coldest on the EURO.
In Cedar Rapids the low temperatures range is -33 to -37. No way to sugar coat the significance of those numbers.
The temperatures above do not include any wind. Throw that into the mix and you get wind chills of 50 to 60 below over a huge part of the Midwest.
Need some good news? A dumb question I know but I have some. The overall pattern is going to flatten and dramatically relax over the weekend allowing much warmer air to flood the Midwest. The deep snow cover will temper the warming but highs of 35-40 are likely Saturday and Sunday. Hope that helps a bit! Roll weather...TS