A huge mass of arctic air that descended on Wisconsin overnight dropped temperatures below zero and wind chills into dangerously low territory.
More than 50 school districts and private schools either canceled classes Friday or are opening a couple of hours later, according to the school closings list at NBC.com/weather/closings, across southwest, south-central and southeast Wisconsin.
Milwaukee Public Schools, the largest school district in the state, was among those that closed Friday, but the Madison school district remained open, even though no classes are being held due to a grade reporting day.
To deal with the bitter cold, local facilities in Madison that accommodate the homeless are staying open longer and are suspending occupancy limits so more people can be taken care of.
Public facilities, such as libraries, community centers and senior centers, also are places for people to go to to get out of the frigid weather.
27 Storm Track meteorologist Branden Borremans said Friday's high will reach just 1, with morning wind chills down to 30 below. The sun should shine a good part of the day, but we could see a few snow flurries in the afternoon.
The National Weather Service said low temperatures for Madison this weekend will be about 12 below Friday night, 2 below Saturday night and 1 below Sunday night, while daytime highs only reach 7 on Saturday and 8 on Sunday.
Adding to the bitterly cold weather will be another snowstorm set to move through south-central Wisconsin Sunday night into Monday, the third to hit the area in two weeks.
The National Weather Service said we could see up to 4 inches of snow Sunday night and heavier amounts on Monday, with winds gusting up to 25 mph on Monday to possibly produce whiteout conditions.
Once the snow moves out, the coldest air of the winter is predicted to move in.
High temperatures of 2 below on Tuesday, 6 below on Wednesday, 0 on Thursday and 3 below on Friday are in the cards, with overnight lows of 4 below Monday night, 20 below Tuesday night, 15 below Wednesday night, 18 below Thursday night and 19 below next Friday night.
Those temperatures would be the coldest readings in Madison in over 20 years.
The Weather Service said wind chills are expected to be 35 below zero or worse from Tuesday through Friday.
Northern Wisconsin is forecast to see temperatures colder than 20 below and wind chill values at 35 below or worse.
Thursday was a pretty nice day in Madison when compared to what we are going to see the upcoming week.
The high of 22 was 5 degrees below normal and 33 degrees below the record high of 55 for Jan. 24, set in 1981.
The low of 1 below was 12 degrees below normal and 23 degrees above the record low of 24 below for the date, set in 1936.
A trace of precipitation (rain plus snow converted to liquid) fell at the airport, keeping the January and 2019 total at 2.03 inches, 1.08 inches above normal.
The record precipitation total on Jan. 24 was 1.42 inches, which came down as the record snowfall of 6.0 inches for the date.
During the meteorological winter of December through February, Madison has received 4.13 inches of precipitation, 1.44 inches above normal.
The trace of precipitation was due to 0.1 of an inch of snow, bringing the January total up to 11.9 inches, 1.9 inches above normal.
Madison has received 17.8 inches of snow for winter, 5.7 inches below normal, and 21.2 inches of snow during the snow season, 6.4 inches below normal.