The National Weather Service forecasted “bitterly cold air…with wind chills well below zero in some areas” of the upper Midwest (SCOTT OLSON)

Chicago (AFP) – Bitter arctic air settled over the US Midwest on Friday, leading to school closures and event cancelations as officials warned of even frostier weather to come next week.

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasted that the chill would last through the weekend in the upper Midwest — but “dangerously cold” temperatures are expected next week, with scattered heavy snow and strong winds.

“There is increasing confidence in significant, bitterly cold air arriving in the Northern Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes in the middle of next week,” the NWS said.

“The cold should last for several days, with wind chills well below zero in some areas.”

The NWS said frost bite was possible within minutes in the sub-zero temperatures that chilled much of the upper Midwest on Friday.

School closures were reported in Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa, along with canceled activities at churches and community centers throughout the region.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, where gusts brought a wind chill factor as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit (-29 Celsius), residents refused to cancel an outdoor hockey championship event on a frozen pond.

It went on as scheduled despite temperatures so low that it caused hockey pucks to snap.

Temperatures in many areas were in the negative double digits.

North Dakota, which shares a border with Canada, recorded some of the most frigid air, with some areas plunging as low as -30F.

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