Bitter Cold Temperatures Continue

Bitter Cold Temperatures Continue

Officials warned Chicago residents, accustomed to chilling winters, to expect an unusually deep and unsafe freeze. Snowplows were parked overnight in southwestern Minnesota, where temperatures dropped to 29 degrees below zero.

The brutal blast known as the polar vortex is a stream of cold air that spins around the stratosphere over the North Pole, but whose current has been disrupted and is now pushing south into the United States. It pushed eastward, and states including Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania experienced bitterly cold temperatures. Boston was at minus 5 Fahrenheit (minus 15 Celsius), according to the National Weather Service.

General Motors said late Wednesday it's suspending operations at 11 MI plants due to the cold.

An Illinois police department found a fictitious cause for the icy blast, posting on Facebook that its officers had arrested Elsa, the frosty character from the Disney movie Frozen, for bringing the arctic air to the Midwest.

Schools in parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa remained closed Thursday.

In Minnesota and Upper Michigan, temperatures hit 29C and parts of North Dakota were at -30C. Temperatures, though, will continue to fall to minus-6 on Thursday morning.

Meteorologists added that frostbite could be possible within just 10 minutes due to the intense cold.

On Thursday, the system marched east, spreading arctic conditions over an area from Buffalo to Brooklyn.

A man is bundled up against bitter wind and blowing snow as he operates a snowblower, January 30, 2019, in Buffalo, N.Y. The area received more than a foot of snow since Tuesday and was under a blizzard warning.

Beginning signs of redness or pain in any skin area may be a sign of frostbite starting to form. He said the most severe cases risked having fingers and toes amputated.

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The cold has caused at least 12 deaths since Saturday across the Midwest, according to officials and media reports. Some died from apparent exposure to the elements, others in weather-related traffic accidents.

The weather-related deaths included an elderly IL man who was found several hours after he fell trying to get into his home, an OH woman found in a vacant home, and a University of Iowa student found dead behind an academic hall.

The weather service warned drivers to allow for extra travel time and "possibly hazardous travel" because of accumulating snow and single-digit temperatures impeding road treatment tactics. The jump will be even larger in Rockford, Illinois, a city northwest of Chicago, that awoke Thursday to a record-breaking temperature of negative 30 degrees (negative 34 Celsius).

O'Hare tweeted yesterday: "Due to extreme cold weather in #Chicago air carriers at ORD have cancelled over 1,520 flights and are reporting minimal delays". Postal services have been suspended throughout six states and in parts of four others. Mail service won't be restored in MI until February 1, officials said.

Video footage this week showed boiling water freeze as it was tossed into the air in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and transit workers in Chicago, Illinois, set fire to train tracks to keep them from locking up.

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

In Detroit, General Motors Co suspended operations at 11 MI plants and its Warren Tech Center after a utility made an emergency appeal to users to conserve natural gas after extreme cold and a fire at a compressor station.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also cancelled a shift yesterday at two of its plants.

Warmer Arctic linked to USA winter extremes: Scientists have strengthened our understanding of the link between a warmer Arctic and the frequency and changes of US winter weather, especially cold spells and heavy snows in the Northeast and upper Midwest.

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