NASA’s AIRS captures polar vortex moving in over US

02 February, 2019, 10:46 | Author: Dwayne Harmon
  • Polar vortex puts US Midwest in a deep freeze

Schools in parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa remained closed, but students headed back to school Thursday in eastern North Dakota, where the weather was forecast to crawl out of double-digit sub-zero temperatures. The low will be about 18 degrees, forecastersdg said.

Homeless and displaced people were particularly at risk.

Numerous same Midwestern commuters who bundled up like polar explorers this week might soon get by with a light jacket.

"This morning is some of the coldest of the temperatures across the Upper Midwest, and we still have some unsafe wind chills", Andrew Orrison, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said in a phone interview.

In Chicago, where the mercury dipped as low as minus 22 Fahrenheit (minus 30 Celsius) earlier this week, temperatures of 19F (minus 7C) on Friday morning felt positively balmy for some in the nation's third-largest city.

This year's polar vortex also broke apart into several pieces, one of which was able to travel down to the midwest and cause the extremely cold temperatures.

He was found unresponsive behind a campus building Wednesday morning, when wind chill temperatures in Iowa City were -51F (-46C), according to local TV station KCCI.

Heavy snow hitting Chicago off the Great Lakes was set to start reducing on Thursday night, the weather service said.

Temperatures will climb to a high of minus 1 on Thursday - though wind chill values will remain as low as 43 degrees below zero, the weather service said. Mail service won't be restored in MI until February 1, officials said. "Here we are going right into spring-like temperatures".

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They have deployed troopers across the state to check assigned patrol areas for stranded motorists as temperatures could reach record lows and make travelling extremely unsafe.

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

This week's cold snap virtually shut the city down for a day, as everything from flights and public transit to the city's public school system and mail delivery in ZIP codes in Chicago and around IL was canceled for Wednesday and Thursday. Chicago was hardest hit, with O'Hare International Airport experiencing more than 700 cancellations, according to the FlightAware tracking site.

Even the U.S. Postal Service - despite its unofficial vow that couriers can not be stopped by "snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night" - was forced to suspend deliveries in some particularly frigid places. "All my flights have been cancelled".

Chicago's regional electric train service was canceled due to cold-related wiring problems, as gas burners heated rail switches on conventional lines to keep trains moving on a reduced schedule.

The cold air has swept through the Midwest with 90 million Americans feeling temperatures below 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18C), nearly a third of the country's population.

Metra trains will run on a modified scheduled. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV also canceled a shift on January 31 at two of its plants.

Power issues drastically subsided by Thursday as well, with only 155 ComEd customers reporting no power about noon, according to the electric company's power outage map. They included someone found dead at a bus stop, and two men who were removing snow, said Peter Anderson, spokesman for the Erie County executive's office.

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