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‘Polar Vortex’ to Hit US With Record Freezing Temperatures

The American Midwest and Northeast are preparing for a “polar vortex,” a megastorm that is expected to bring record freezing temperatures on Monday. So far extreme weather conditions have claimed at least 16 lives, paralyzed travel and caused power shortage.

For those exposed to the inclement conditions frostbite and  hypothermia will be a danger as – 31°C is expected in North  Dakota, – 35 °C in Minnesota, and – 26 degrees below Celsius in  Indianapolis and Chicago. Adding the wind chill factor, the  temperature could feel as low as – 56 °C.

The freezing air began to spread Sunday reaching areas as far  south as the Gulf Coast.

“It may feel as cold as negative 50 to negative 60 on Sunday  night over sections of the north-central states,” the Tom  Moore, from the National Weather Service said to NBC News.

“In those conditions, frost bite sets in on exposed skin  within five minutes…a person not properly dressed could die  easily in those conditions,” Moore added.

Such harsh and freezing temperatures have not been witnesses in  the region for 20 years.

Meteorologists blame the weather conditions on a “polar  vortex,” a dense pool of counterclockwise-rotating air.

“It’s just a large area of very cold air that comes down,  forms over the North Pole or polar regions … usually stays in 1 Canada, but this time it’s going to come all the way into the  eastern United States,” said National Weather Service  meteorologist Phillip Schumacher.

As freezing temperatures hit the US, authorities are moving to  protect some of the more vulnerable members of society.

“Anybody living out on the streets needs to be rounded up and  put into a shelter,” said Moore to MSNBC News. “The  repercussions for not could be deadly, and I’m afraid we’re going  to see cases like that,” the official added.

A total of 1,266 flights were canceled across the United States  and 6,036 flights delayed on Saturday, with Chicago’s O’Hare  International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in  New Jersey among the most affected, according to tracking firm

“It is unfortunate that the weather conditions are causing  travel delays. I’m traveling from San Francisco to Detroit to  begin a new work project on Monday. I’m freaked out that the  predicted snow storm will cause me to miss the first day at  work,” Alex Polonsky, a seasonal traveler told RT.

Schools as far south as Washington DC were closed on Friday. Many  government offices also shut down. Public schools are to remain  closed on Monday in a number of cities, and the entire state of  Minnesota. In Nashville, Tennessee schools will be shut until  Wednesday.

A winter storm warning has been issued for the Detroit area on  Saturday as the automotive city braces to receive up to 28 cm of  snow.


The storm follows the winter weather system that hit the US  Midwest and Northeast just after New Year’s Day, causing at least  19 deaths and thousands of flights cancelations and power  outages.

In Canada, strong blizzards have left some 65,000 customers on  the island of Newfoundland waiting in the cold and dark until  Monday or Tuesday to regain electricity supply.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro said severe weather caused a fire  that led to a shutdown at the Holyrood Generating Station,  causing a massive outage across the island in which 190,000 were  left without power.

Traveling to St. John’s International Airport has also been  affected as most flights are either cancelled or delayed and bus  service cancelled. Authorities are also urging drivers to stay  off roads. Air Canada said that their flights from Toronto’s  Pearson International Airport to Eastern Canada are affected by  the weather.

Much of Atlantic Canada spent Saturday cleaning up after the  blizzard that left about 38 cm of snow, which crossed the  Maritimes on Friday before heading to Newfoundland’s Avalon  Peninsula overnight.

Weather forecasters said Saturday Newfoundland and Labrador  received about 15 inches of snow.




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