Polar Vortex Set to Drop Arctic-Cold Temperatures on Chicago, Minneapolis

Mindy Sparks
February 1, 2019

Ninety million people - a third of the USA - have seen temperatures of -17C (0F) or below.

Chicago turned five buses into makeshift warming centers that moved around the city, some with nurses aboard, to encourage the homeless to come in from the cold.

The medical examiner's office in Milwaukee, where temperatures plunged to minus-42 degrees, confirmed on Tuesday the death of a 55-year-old man found dead in his garage. Some died from apparent exposure to the elements, others in weather-related traffic accidents.

"Whiteouts, as well as blowing and drifting snow resulting from gusty winds, threaten to force road closures and make travel almost impossible and extremely unsafe at times", AccuWeather meteorologist Kyle Elliott reported. A man was fatally struck by a snow plough near Chicago on Monday and in northern in a young couple died after a collision on icy roads.

Governors in Illinois, Wisconsin, and MI declared emergencies.

In Chicago, life was expected to return to normal on Friday after days of face-freezing cold.

Chicago's high will also be below that of points in the Arctic Circle.

Temperatures in the Upper Midwest will reach well above zero F (minus 18 C) on Friday, with highs making it into the teens and low 20s.

It was even colder in Minnesota, where Xcel energy urged customers to turn down their thermostats despite outdoor temperatures as low as -42 F.

Cities across Iowa have also broken temperature records.

Approximately one-quarter of the United States is now under the grips of a deadly Polar Vortex that has rendered the city of Chicago literally colder than Antarctica or Siberia, with temperatures hitting a record-setting 21 degrees below zero and a windchill of 51 below.


Media captionMuch of Chicago River has frozen over How is the cold snap affecting daily life?

"As the Arctic gets warmer and warmer, the severe weather picks up."
In 2014, a similar polar freeze cost the country an estimated $5bn (£3.8bn), CBS News reported.

Authorities in MI and Minnesota were also asking residents to turn down their thermostats to conserve natural gas.

More than 2,000 flights were canceled early on Wednesday, largely out of Chicago O'Hare and Chicago Midway global airports, the flight tracking site FlightAware.

Image copyright The Washington Post via Getty Images Image caption A sole individual walks down State Street in Madison, Wisconsin What about Canada?

But U.S. President Donald Trump doesn't believe the scientific theory.

According to Accuweather's RealFeel temperatures-which calculates how the outside temperature is perceived by the average person-the Upper Midwest felt like minus 77 degrees on January 29, where it was reported at Thief River Falls, Minnesota.

Icy roads and several transit delays made for a hellish commute for the city's residents.

In Detroit, where some water mains are nearly 150 years old, city workers were dealing with dozens of breaks, said Palencia Mobley, deputy director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

In parts of rural northern Alberta, 15in of snow were expected to fall.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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