Sunday, January 5, 2014

‘Polar vortex’ plunges midwest, northeast US into record deep freeze

Courtney Subramanian in Time: Record-low chilling temperatures are predicted to blast parts of the Great Plains, extending to the Eastern seaboard, while a second winter storm is expected later Saturday through Monday.

Factoring in wind chill, temperatures as low as 50 to 70 degrees below zero are forecasted in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest by Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service. At least 16 deaths have been linked to weather across Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois, USA TODAY reports. Emergency officials warn that such startling temperatures could lead to frostbite or even hypothermia in a matter of minutes. One man died outside his Milwaukee home, where temperatures surged below zero in Wisconsin.

Meteorologists attribute the “polar vortex” to freezing air from the North Pole being pushed down to as far as the Gulf Coast of the U.S., the Associated Press reports. In Atlanta, temperatures will be in the mid-20s by Tuesday while a wintry mix of rain and snow are expected in parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, northern Arkansas, southern Ohio and southwestern Pennsylvania late into Sunday.  The cold front will likely freeze large bodies of water, like the Great Lakes, meaning freezing temperatures could last through winter...

An icy train trestle in 1936

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