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Brutally cold weather on the way for much of U.S. and Canada

Record-breaking cold weather is sweeping down through Canada toward the U.S. as the year draws to a close, according to the AccuWeather Global Weather Center. The coldest air of the season so far, featuring temperatures well below zero, is on the way to the Northern Plains, the Upper Midwest and part of the Northeast before 2014 arrives, AccuWeather warned in a news release today.

Portions of North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are likely to have one to several days where the temperature does not climb above zero later this weekend into the first part of next week. Cities in the North Central states facing around the clock, sub-zero temperatures include Fargo, ND; Minneapolis, MN; Eau Claire, WI, and Ironwood, MI.

Temperatures may not climb out of the single digits around Chicago by Monday and Tuesday of next week. Even Detroit will have highs only in the teens.

For truckers, this extreme cold can bring with it a host of problems from the need to pre-heat engines and guard against cargo damage from freezing, to concerns about icy roads. In some places, AccuWeather, advised, it will not be safe to be outside for extended periods of time. This can make things like load securement on flatbed trailers and even pre-trip vehicle inspections more challenging.  And breakdowns can be downright dangerous, so drivers need to be prepared.

Those operating in Canada will be even colder. "Where the sky is clear all night and winds become calm, temperatures along the United States/Canada border could drop to minus 30 F," Canada Weather Expert Brett Anderson said. Some major cities in Canada have a chance at reaching all-time record lows, provided the right conditions occur, including Montreal, Quebec City and Ottawa, Ontario.

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