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B-b-baby, it’s c-c-cold outside

It certainly was cold Monday. And it’ll be cold today. We’ll all have to dress up like Eskimos for a while. Be careful out there.

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

Freezing. Icy. Frigid. Bitter.

Arctic. Frozen. Shivery.

Bone-chilling. Finger-hurting.

Cheek-numbing.

Ear-biting.

We want to tell you, it’s cold in the Sauk Valley.

Dangerously cold.

18-degrees-below-zero cold.

So, how cold is it?

It’s so cold that all area schools were closed Monday. Strong winds with super-cold wind chills, drifting snow, and below-zero temperatures sealed the deal.

It’s so cold that CGG Medical Center closed a dozen of its clinics and health centers early, at 3:30 p.m. Monday.

It’s so cold that electricity was knocked out in Dixon Monday morning to about 1,500 customers. Lee County officials had to fire up a generator to restore power to the 911 center.

It’s so cold that the Sterling and Dixon city councils canceled their meetings for Monday night. Across the region, various public buildings and agencies, such as libraries and city halls and health departments, shut their doors.

It’s so cold that some vehicles wouldn’t start, while others stalled en route to their destinations.

Along with the cold, it was windy overnight Sunday and Monday.

How windy was it?

It was so windy that snowdrifts invaded highways and clogged rural roadways.

It was so windy that some snowplow drivers stayed off the roads overnight Sunday, as any progress they would make would quickly become drifted in again.

It was so windy that, unless you dressed up like an Eskimo, you felt the intense wind chill factors immediately upon venturing outdoors.

Gov. Pat Quinn wasted no time. He issued a disaster declaration that asked drivers to stay off roads and activated Illinois National Guard members.

Some parts of Illinois had up to 15 inches of snow. Thankfully, the Sauk Valley was not among the hardest hit.

After a frigid overnight, the forecast today calls for a brief escape from subzero temperatures. As the week progresses, we might even be able to jettison such words as polar vortex, frosty, raw, and hypothermic from our weather vocabulary.

But make no mistake about it.

It’s cold.

Be careful out there.

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