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Tuesday could bring region’s lowest temperatures in more than a year, meteorologists say

The extreme cold will continue into Tuesday, with temperatures expected to hover in the single digits Monday evening through central Maryland and to drop to as low as 0 in the mountains of Western Maryland, forecasters predicted.

Warmer weather is on the way Wednesday and Thursday, with temperatures both days expected to reach in the mid to high 40s. Rain is expected both days.

After strong winds and cold temperatures Sunday dropped wind chills to minus 7 degrees in the city and as low as minus 20 degrees in Frederick County, the temperatures rose Monday to a high of 21 by 3 p.m. in the city. Temperatures in downtown Baltimore were recorded at a low of 12 degrees overnight Sunday.

The cold weather didn’t stop the traditional Martin Luther King Day parade, although attendance was estimated to be down significantly from previous years when the temperature has been milder. Gloria Shaw, 52, of Cedonia in Northeast Baltimore, noticed there were fewer bands and participants this year. She had come to the parade to watch her 9-year-old granddaughter perform with the Baltimore All-Stars marching band,.

“I thought they were going to cancel the parade. It’s windy and feels like pins are in me because of the cold,” Shaw said. “My grandbaby, Janira Williams, looked like she was enjoying it, despite the cold.”

The Maryland Jockey Club did cancel its Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday program including nine races at Laurel Park because of severe winter weather conditions, and the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore was closed Monday because of the cold.

Early Tuesday could bring the region’s lowest temperatures in more than a year. It hasn’t been colder at BWI Marshall Airport since a 1-degree low last Jan. 7.

Meteorologists say warming in the Arctic caused the polar vortex to split earlier this month and send frigid air to lower latitudes.

Wind gusts of up to 30 mph were expected to diminish Monday night, so despite the low temperatures it won’t feel as cold as it did Sunday night. Forecasters said it would reach a wind chill of as low as minus 3 Monday night in Maryland. In Baltimore City the temperature was expected to reach 31 with winds of only 6 mph and a wind chill that could be as low as 0.

A high pressure system from the Arctic is expected to build over the region Tuesday before heading for the mid Atlantic coast Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service. A cold front from the Ohio Valley will move into our area Wednesday night and Thursday.

A “Code Blue” advisory is in effect through Tuesday morning in Baltimore, forcing the opening of shelters 24 hours a day and expanding their capacity; providing meals for at-risk senior citizens; and helping low-income residents seek energy bill assistance.

The frigid weather is likely to return at the end of the month.

sdance@baltsun.com

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Baltimore Sun reporter Liz Bowie contributed to this article.

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