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Web Extra: Blast of Frigid Air Set to Smash Records

Potentially record-setting cold temperatures were descending across the Midwest and Northeast on Sunday, disrupting travel and prompting forecasters to warn people to stay indoors.
NEW YORK (NBC News) - Potentially record-setting cold temperatures were descending across the Midwest and Northeast on Sunday, disrupting travel and prompting forecasters to warn people to stay indoors.

Detroit, St. Louis, Indianapolis and Chicago saw continued snowfall overnight, which along with the cold disrupted thousands of flights. Across the country, at least 2,000 Sunday flights had been cancelled or delayed, according to tracking website FlightAware. About 43 percent of those scheduled to fly in or out of Chicago’s O’Hare A irport were cancelled.

A plane skidded off the runway at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport Sunday morning and forced officials to temporarily shut down the international airport.

Another plane slid off the tarmac at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on Saturday night, according to NBC Chicago. O’Hare remained open, but 46 percent of flights scheduled to fly out of Chicago’s O’Hare Airport were cancelled Sunday morning.

Chicago residents woke up to five inches of snow, NBC Chicago reported. Snow would continue through the day in the Windy City, and was forecast to total more than 13 inches by nightfall, according to Weather.com.

The Dakotas and Minnesota bore the brunt of the coldest weather, clocking temperatures of 20 degrees below zero on Sunday morning.

Brutally cold temperatures with an accompanying wind chill are expected to continue in regions across the U.S., with lows in the minus teens and minus 20s in parts of the Midwest. TODAY's Dylan Dreyer reports.

“And it is only getting colder,” Michael Palmer, lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel said.

The frigid air blasting into the Plains was part of what the National Weather Service called “incredibly cold and possibly record-breaking temperatures” expected throughout the week, with the brutally cold air expected to spread into to the Northeast and Gulf Coast Monday and Tuesday.

Forecasters are expecting bitterly cold temperatures in many places: 25 below zero in Fargo, N.D., minus 31 in International Falls, Minn., and 15 below in Indianapolis and Chicago. Wind chills may reach 50, 60 or even 70 below zero, temperatures much of the country has not seen in decades.

At temperatures of 15 to 30 below, exposed skin can get frostbitten in minutes and hypothermia can quickly set in.

"If you don’t have to go outside, don’t do it," Palmer warned.

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