Polar vortex: Millions hit by freezing temperatures in US

Polar vortex: Millions hit by freezing temperatures in US

Snowplows were parked overnight in southwestern Minnesota, where temperatures dropped to 29 degrees below zero.

At the National Weather Service in Duluth, there was "talk of making a run at the state record" early Thursday morning before the sun came up, when temperatures would be at their coldest, meteorologist Geoff Grochocinski told The Post.

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.

Norris Camp, in northwest Minnesota, was the coldest location in the United States on Wednesday after temperatures there dropped to minus-48 degrees, measured by an official with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. By 7 a.m., temperatures were down to minus 23 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 30 degrees Celsius) at O'Hare International Airport, according to NWS.

General Motors Co said late on Wednesday it would temporarily suspend operations at 11 MI plants and its Warren Tech Center after a utility made an emergency appeal to users to conserve natural gas.

The phenomenon is described by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding the Earth's North and South poles.

Wisconsin and MI have declaried a state of emergency, with many state agencies closed in IL as well. Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, will drop to around minus-20 - 10 degrees warmer than parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and IL will be at the same time. Meanwhile, Chicago had near-record temperatures of minus 23 on January 30 and minus 21 on January 31.

In western NY, a storm that dumped up to 20 inches of snow (51 centimetres) was over by Thursday but gave way to subzero temperatures and risky wind chills.

Temperatures at this range can cause frostbite on exposed skin in just a few minutes.

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

At least eight deaths have been linked to the system, including an elderly IL man who was found several hours after he fell trying to get into his home. Another was a University of Iowa student whose body was found behind an academic hall several hours before dawn, according to the Associated Press.

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.

Dr Masters said "past record-cold waves have not dissipated this quickly" and that the region seems headed for "spring-like temperatures".

So far, nine people have died in storm related incidents. Even the U.S. Postal Service - whose unofficial motto proclaims that "neither snow nor rain nor heat" will stop the mail from being delivered - suspended mail delivery to a wide part of the region.

Then 1 to 3 inches of snow is expected to fall starting around 4 p.m., the weather service said.

Illinois State Police officers rescued 21 people who were stranded in a charter bus that broke down in sub-zero temperatures along Interstate 55 near Auburn after the vehicle's diesel fuel turned to gel in its engine, according to the agency.

Videos this week showed boiling water freezing as it was tossed in the air in Cedar Rapids and transit workers in Chicago setting fire to train tracks to keep them from locking up.

A morning commuter walks to work as polar vortex temperatures reached a low of minus ten degrees in Johnstown, Pa., Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.

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