ALTON - Riverbend residents are observing a frigid Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and it is only going to get colder, the National Weather Service (NWS) of St. Louis said.

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In fact, the high temperature was reached in the predawn hours - before most people could be awake to enjoy it. NWS meteorologist Patrick Walsh said a cold front, which brought a minor accumulation of snow overnight and into this morning, had just passed over Alton around 11 a.m., and cold temperatures were going to follow in its wake. Temperatures in Alton were hovering around 15 degrees in the wake of that frontal boundary, and are expected to fall fast.

Well, how cold could it possibly get?

"We're looking at temperatures around zero or negative one or two overnight," Walsh said. "It should be coldest around 6-7 a.m., around sunrise. We also have winds between five and 10 m.p.h., which are going to bring wind chill numbers between negative 15, and negative 18 degrees overnight."

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Tuesday's high should reach double digits - but only barely. Walsh said 15 degrees should be the maximum tomorrow. Because of the danger of this coming extreme cold, the entire St. Louis Metro Area is under a wind chill advisory from the National Weather Service from 6 p.m. Monday evening until noon on Tuesday.

When asked if this was the coldest wind chill Walsh has seen this winter, he said wind chills reached negative 20 in northern counties during a recent cold snap from December 2017 into January 2018.

A warm-up is coming, however, and that will be an extreme in itself. By Thursday, Walsh expects temperatures to reach 40 degrees, 50 on Friday and even a balmy 60 is possible by Saturday. This shift from one extreme to another is more common in January than most people realize.

"We were stagnant with not a lot going on," Walsh said of previous weather patterns. "That is not normal in January. Usually a lot changes this time of year, but these temperature shifts are a little extreme. Overall, though, it's pretty normal."

Walsh said the next chance at precipitation will come from Saturday night into Sunday morning, adding it would most likely be entirely liquid at this time.

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