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(NEW YORK) — If you think it’s extremely cold even for winter, you’re right.  While it is January and cold weather is expected, ABC News meteorologist Ginger Zee says the extended period of cold over a large swath of the country makes this current spell unusual.

“This is historically the coldest part of the year, climatologically we know that late January does it almost everywhere.  But we are below average in a lot of these places and that we’re just having it for this long extended period of time.  The air has been allowed to come down here, it’s circulating around that extreme polar air and then shoving down on the U.S.”

Zee says it’s time to hunker down in this cold weather because this extreme cold won’t be going away anytime soon.

“This is not just a cold for tomorrow or the next day, it is all the way, really, until the end of January.  So this looks like an extended period of cold in the long-range models. It really takes us with big punches of cold into early next week for sure.  Some of them even colder than what we are right now,” she says.

Watch an extended report from ABC’s World News with Diane Sawyer:

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