Nation

Midwest thaw gives way to deep chill

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Midwesterners who had briefly swapped puffy coats for sandals and shorts switched back Tuesday as balmy conditions gave way to severe storms that carried a risk of tornadoes, freezing rain, and, later, snow.

Record high temperatures across a swath of the central United States were being followed by thunderstorms and strong winds from Texas to ­Alabama and as far north as Michigan.

The temperature in the central Missouri college town of Columbia reached 77 degrees on Monday, a record for January, and students exchanged their winter coats for shorts and flip-flops as freezing rain gave way to spring-like conditions. Foul weather made a quick return, however, with a Tuesday downpour that flooded some streets near the University of Missouri campus. Snow was expected early Wednesday morning.

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Chicago residents also have been whiplashed by recent weather extremes. Workers who suffered through subzero temperatures and brutal wind chills a week ago strolled through downtown without coats Tuesday as temperatures soared into the mid-60s. Women wore skirts over bare legs, and joggers were in shorts and T-shirts.

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The rapidly changing conditions created a risk of tornadoes.

Associated Press