US polar vortex blamed for at least 21 deaths

Mindy Sparks
February 2, 2019

Some areas of the Midwest were expected to warm up dramatically by the weekend. Experts say it's unprecedented, and it could create problems of its own such as bursting pipes, flooding rivers and crumbling roads.

The weather station at the Moline Quad-City Airport sent a reading of minus-29 degrees at 11:19 p.m., which was enough to break the record, and then continued to drop even further through the early-morning hours Thursday.

The deadly, sub-zero temperatures were expected to lift Friday, but the misery would not end quickly in the roughly dozen states most affected.

The weather service reported that more than 30 record lows were shattered across the Midwest.

Cities across Iowa have also broken temperature records.

"We have some risky wind chills", Andrew Orrison, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said. They were not exaggerating: Going gloveless for only a minute or two, in double-digit negative temperatures, left hands feeling numb, then clumsy and flipper-like, then white-hot with pain.

Streets in Chicago were almost empty, with few people walking outside in the painfully cold air as temperatures hovered around -28C.

Many Midwestern cities are colder than some of the coldest places on earth, including Siberia, the Arctic, Antarctica, Alaska and "even other planets", The Verge reported. That's just 6 degrees short of the January 20, 1985 record of minus 27, the lowest temperature ever recorded in Chicago.

Wednesday was the second-coldest day in Chicago's history.


Paulina Dedaj is a writer/ reporter for Fox News. That made some parts of IL colder than Antarctica on Wednesday, and with the windchill factor made Los Angeles feel as much as 100 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than some parts of the midwest.

In Minnesota and MI, residents were asked by gas companies to turn down their home thermostats to help handle heating demands.

Andrea Cusack, a pharmacist in MI, began using her snowmobile to deliver essential prescriptions to snowed-in residents, according to the Lansing State Journal.

Consumers Energy, a natural gas provider in MI, had a fire on Wednesday morning that damaged equipment and temporarily affected how much gas could be sent out to customers.

The marsh around Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts remains frozen where over 2000 flights were cancelled and delayed due to extreme cold conditions caused by the Polar Vortex over the midwest and northern parts of North America.

Social media has been full of photos and memes showcasing just how shockingly cold the Midwest became. Detroit experienced wind chills as cold as minus-32 degrees Wednesday.

As headlines put it, a polar vortex descended upon the country. Numerous cold-related fatalities were in MI, where the governor said the death toll was still being confirmed.

Though nothing new (it's believed the term "polar vortex" first appeared in 1853), this month's weather event is getting a bit out of hand.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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