Polar vortex strikes North America

01 February, 2019, 08:08 | Author: Amos Gonzales
  • Predicted near-surface air temperature differences from normal relative to 1981-2010. <a rel=

More than 2,500 flights were cancelled and more than 3,500 delayed yesterday morning, majority out of Chicago's O'Hare International and Midway International airports.

Hundreds of businesses and public schools and several large universities from North Dakota to Pennsylvania canceled classes Tuesday and Wednesday.

A blast of Arctic air from the polar vortex brought risky, bone-chilling cold to a wide swathe of the United States on Tuesday (Jan 29), stretching from the Dakotas through ME, with snow expected as far south as Alabama and Georgia.

Thursday morning temperatures dipped to 21 degrees below zero - minus 39 degrees with windchill, according to the National Weather Service.

There are wind chill warnings across the state and Chicago is expected to set a record for the coldest high temperature not getting above -14°C today.

"One of the coldest arctic air mass intrusions in recent memory is surging south into the Upper Midwest before spreading across much of the eastern two-thirds of the country", the National Weather Service said.

"People exposed to extreme cold are susceptible to frostbite in a matter of minutes", warned the NWS.

Officials in dozens of cities focused on protecting vulnerable people such as the homeless, seniors and those living in substandard housing. Five city buses were also deployed to serve as mobile warming centres for homeless people. "Please come back soon, we need you", he sneered in the short message service Twitter. They are 5 to 6 feet underground and beneath the frost line, but that matters little when temperatures drop so dramatically, Peckinpaugh said.

The Amtrak passenger rail service cancelled all trains in and out of Chicago on Wednesday.

"This is a potentially historic winter storm that will bring extreme cold to our state and all Illinoisans must prepare", Pritzker said in a written statement released by his office. Calling the temperatures "dangerous", Hobart said United was bringing in extra workers and providing heated tents for employees.

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On Wednesday night, Consumers Energy, one of the main energy providers in MI, sent out an emergency appeal to customers throughout the state to reduce their heat as much as possible to avoid a critical gas shortage.

In a rare move, the US Postal Service appeared to set aside its credo that "neither snow nor rain. nor gloom of night" would stop its work as it suspended deliveries from parts of the Dakotas through Ohio.

States of emergency have already been issued for Wisconsin, Illinois and MI with many schools and businesses shut down. In Chicago, major attractions closed because of the bitter cold, including the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Art Institute and the Field Museum.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Lansing, Michigan has confirmed that shelters in the city were becoming "overloaded".

"People don't want to be out there right now", said Brennan Ellis, 53, who is staying at the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries.

At least eight deaths have been linked to the system, including an elderly IL man who was found several hours after he fell trying to get into his home. A 55-year-old man froze to death in his Milwaukee garage after he collapsed shoveling snow, a man was fatally struck by a snow plow in Chicago, a nine-year-old died in an Iowa pile up and a young couple were killed when their SUV struck another on a snowy road in northern Indiana.Officials have warned that the freezing temperatures will only become more life-threatening overnight on Wednesday.

More than 1,600 flights were canceled in Chicago by mid-morning.

The wind chill temperature is more than a catchy forecast term. "I feel sorry for anybody that has to stay outside".

Chris Fairbanks, emergency assistance program manager for the White Earth Band of Ojibwe in Minnesota, called the situation "scary" because many houses are substandard. Another way of looking at it: "climate is what you expect and weather is what you get". Competitors can cover the race route by bicycle, cross-country skis or just running.

But it wasn't stopping one of America's most formidable endurance tests: the three-day Arrowhead 135 was going on as scheduled in northeastern Minnesota.


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