Published: Thu, January 31, 2019
Sci-tech | By April Francis

Polar Vortex brings deadly -33C freeze to USA

Polar Vortex brings deadly -33C freeze to USA

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecast temperatures between -10 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-23 to -40 Celsius) by Wednesday, with wind chill making it seem as cold as -65 degrees Fahrenheit in one area of Minnesota.

And the sub-zero cold and bitter winds will stick around for a couple of days, possibly bringing dozens of record lows with a life-threatening freeze before dissipating by the weekend, the National Weather Service reported (NWS).

The forecast low temperature will probably break the record for lowest temperature ever recorded in Chicago: minus 27 degrees reached on January 20, 1985.

Roughly 110 million people across the USA are facing the most deadly freeze in at least two decades as a polar vortex of extreme cold spins across the country after a powerful snowstorm pounded the Midwest. Weather.com says that Minneapolis, MN, will see a low of minus 31 Thursday morning, while International Falls, MN, will reach as low as minus 37.

The US Postal Service said it would suspend mail delivery on Wednesday in parts or all of several Midwest states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and MI. "I can feel my skin tighten up".

At Chicago's O'Hare airport, a major regional hub for airlines, ground crews struggled with freezing equipment and were told to avoid spending more than 15 minutes at a time exposed to the cold, causing delays for flights that managed to take off.

A bone-chilling polar vertex has plunged the Midwest, stretching from the Dakotas through ME, into a wave of dangerously cold Arctic air.

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

A state of emergency has been declared in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and IL.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said government offices would remain closed through Thursday and nonessential employees would stay home.

"The priority must continue to be on keeping people safe", Whitmer said in a statement.

Classes were canceled for Wednesday and Thursday in many cities, including Chicago, home of the nation's third-largest school system, and police warned of the risk of accidents on icy highways.

Snow and ice cover the vegetation on the edge of the Horseshoe Falls.

In Chicago and Minneapolis, buses were used as roving warming shelters for the homeless. It pushed eastward and states including Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania experienced bitterly cold temperatures.

After about 1,400 flights were cancelled Monday at Chicago airports because of snowstorms, about 600 were cancelled Tuesday.

Remnants of a weekend snowstorm continued to plague portions of the northeast U.S. - with strong winds and blowing snow reducing visibility on roads.

One-to-two feet of snow was forecast in Wisconsin and six inches in IL, according to the National Weather Service.

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