US Midwest braces for risky arctic chill

US Midwest braces for risky arctic chill

US Midwest braces for risky arctic chill

Early Wednesday the temperature there was 19 below zero.

Record-breaking blasts of Arctic air caused at least a dozen deaths in the U.S. Midwest as the cold spread eastward on January 31 to the Northeast, leaving behind a trail of school closures, major travel disruptions, and the suspension of U.S. Postal Service deliveries in some areas.

The midwest of the United States is experiencing dangerously cold weather this week thanks to a Polar Vortex bringing extreme Arctic air and creating wind chills of more than -50°C. Several power outages in areas of Iowa and Wisconsin have caused thousands of homes to be without electricity, removing the ability to heat their homes. Customers were connected to other mains to keep water service from being interrupted, Detroit Water and Sewerage spokesman Bryan Peckinpaugh said.

The Midwest was the hardest-hit region, as temperatures plunged below -18 deg C. By nightfall, the mercury was hovering at -18 deg C in Chicago, -14 deg C in Detroit and -29 deg C in Minneapolis.

"An arctic front which has ushered in record cold temperatures across the Midwest will move into the eastern US today".

Two-thirds of the continental United States will be a frozen ice box Tuesday, as the so-called polar vortex of frigid arctic air spins across the U.S. Midwest, clips the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley and pushes on into New England.

School was called off for millions of students and many businesses were closed, with heating systems struggling and in many cases failing to overcome the frigid temperatures.

The blast of polar air also strained infrastructure with some of the lowest temperatures in a generation.

A total of 1,359 flights are cancelled for Thursday - but conditions are expected to improve heading into the weekend. Milwaukee had similar conditions.

Some of the previous South Dakota records were set about a century ago.

"That wind chill out there is not even a joke", he said.

"It's bad!" Pasquale Cappellano, a 68-year-old waiter, said as he smoked a cigarette while waiting outside for a bus on Chicago's North Side. The hardiest commuters ventured out only after covering almost every square inch of flesh to protect against the extreme chill, which froze ice crystals on eyelashes and eyebrows in minutes. Postal services have been suspended throughout six states and in parts of four others.

A blast of Arctic air from the polar vortex brought risky, bone-chilling cold to a wide swath of the United States on Tuesday, stretching from the Dakotas through ME, with snow expected as far south as Alabama and Georgia. Beneath this lay a dense layer of arctic air that was pushed south over the US. The number of deaths that could be blamed on the cold climbed to at least 15.

The deaths recorded in the USA included an elderly IL resident who was found several hours after he fell while trying to get home and a University of Iowa student found behind an academic hall several hours before dawn.

Even if all-time records are not broken, the National Weather Service in Chicago is calling this week's forecast "life-threatening extreme cold" that "can lead to rapid onset of frostbite and hypothermia". The warning followed a fire at a utility's suburban Detroit facility that affected natural gas supplies. By Thursday, Consumers Energy said it was "cautiously optimistic" its requests to curb natural gas use were "having a positive effect".

Amtrak began to restore service out of Chicago, one of the nation's busiest rail hubs, after canceling dozens of trains. Several families who meant to leave for Pennsylvania stood in ticket lines at Chicago's Union Station only to be told all trains were canceled until Friday.

"Had I known we'd be stranded here, we would have stayed in Mexico longer - where it was warmer", said Anna Ebersol, who was travelling with her two sons.

Related news