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The Polar Vortex Disrupts The Life Of Daily Citizens

The agency said severe snowstorms may be more likely in a warmer climate because of the increased moisture in the atmosphere.

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USA, Cold
Commuters brave the wind and snow in frigid weather in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jan. 30, 2019. VOA

Millions of Americans are experiencing temperatures so cold that a burst of wind could cause frostbite within minutes — conditions that have caused the suspension of regional train service, work and school schedules, and even production of television and stage shows.

The National Weather Service said Wednesday some 25 million people will face temperatures that cause near-instant frostbite in New England (the northeastern United States) and the Midwest — states such as Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan.

In Chicago, Amtrak canceled train service, and even federal mail delivery was suspended in many areas to protect the mail carriers, whose motto declares they deliver mail in almost any weather condition.

In some cities, bus service has been suspended because the cold can cause mechanical difficulties.

 

USA, Cold
A car passes an elementary school closed due to cold weather in Des Moines, Iowa, Jan. 30, 2019. VOA

 

The governors of Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin have declared states of emergency.

With the wind chill, it was minus 32 degrees Celsius (minus 26 degrees Fahrenheit) in North Dakota on Tuesday and minus 52 degrees in parts of Minnesota. The high temperature in Minneapolis on Wednesday is forecast to be minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit).

In the city of Chicago, renowned for its tough winters, the temperature Thursday is expected to dip near the record low of negative 32.8 degrees Celsius.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is calling the weather “life-threatening.” Transit buses with nurses on board will be dispatched across the city to serve as emergency warming shelters for the homeless.

Churches throughout Detroit are also keeping their doors open for anyone who has no home and needs a place to keep warm.

At least four weather-related deaths have been reported.

The cold air will stretch from the Midwest to the East Coast and as far south as parts of Florida.

USA, Cold
Ice is seen on the side of the Great Falls National Historic Park as a couple takes in the sights during a frigid winter day in Paterson, N.J., Jan. 30, 2019. VOA

Meteorologists blame the weather on a breakup of the polar vortex — cold temperatures above the North Pole are being pushed south across North America because of a blast of desert heat from North Africa.

Global warming

Reacting to the weather, President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday “What the hell is going on with Global Waming? (sic) Please come back fast. We need you!”

It is unclear if the president was joking.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is devoted to climate science and information, tweeted, “Winter storms do not prove global warming is not happening.”

The agency said severe snowstorms may be more likely in a warmer climate because of the increased moisture in the atmosphere.

Also Read: Extreme Weather Due To Polar Vortex Across The U.S. Causes Misery

NOAA denies any connection between the president’s comment and its social media posting.

“We routinely put this story out at these times,” the agency said in a statement. “Our scientists weren’t responding to a tweet.” (VOA)

Next Story

Extreme Weather Due To Polar Vortex Across The U.S. Causes Misery

Forecasters predicted temperatures in the mid-40s F on Sunday and low 50s F on Monday in Chicago.

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USA, Weather
A harbor light is covered with snow and ice on the Lake Michigan at 39th Street Harbor, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago. VOA

Hundreds of millions of Americans spent Wednesday seeking relief from some of the coldest weather ever recorded in the continental United States.

Officials said temperatures were below the freezing mark in 85 percent of the country, excluding Alaska and Hawaii.

Chicago recorded a low temperature of about minus 23 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 30 Celsius) — not a record, but close to it. Minneapolis recorded minus 27 F (minus 32 C). In Sioux Falls, S.D., the mercury dropped to minus 25 F (minus 31 C).

Wind chills reportedly made it feel like minus 50 F (minus 45 C) or worse in several parts of the Midwest.

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

 

Downtown Chicago streets were largely deserted after most offices told employees to stay home. Trains and buses operated with few passengers; engineers set fires along tracks to keep commuter trains moving. The hardiest commuters ventured out only after covering nearly every square inch of flesh to protect against the extreme chill, which froze ice crystals on eyelashes and eyebrows in minutes.

The city used transit buses, with nurses on board, as emergency warming centers for the homeless.

Doctors in Minneapolis said they were treating cases of what they called fourth-degree frostbite, in which limbs are frostbitten down to the bone.

Mail carriers, known for making deliveries through rain, sleet and snow, draw the line at life-threatening cold. The U.S. Postal Service canceled mail service in parts of 11 states Wednesday.

USA, Weather
Icicles hang in front of a door at a bar in Mequon, Wisconsin, Jan. 30, 2019 as temperatures were subzero and wind chills were at -50 degrees F. VOA

With nine weather-related deaths reported so far, the cold was spreading east into New England and the mid-Atlantic states. Commuters and schoolchildren could expect to wake up to temperatures in the single or low double digits Fahrenheit in Washington, Baltimore, New York and Boston.

Meteorologists blamed the weather on a breakup of the polar vortex — cold air above the North Pole that has been pushed south across North America because of a blast of desert heat from North Africa.

Experts said it was possible that climate change was playing a part in the extreme cold. But they said it was hard to pinpoint the cause of a single weather event such as this week’s cold blast.

“It is not out of bounds with the historical record,” University of Miami professor Ben Kirtman said. “You get storms that are bigger than other storms. There is a big part of this that is part of the natural variability of the climate.”

Also Read: As Polar Vortex Hits The U.S, Donald Trump Questions Climate Change

Government scientists said increased moisture in the atmosphere because of global warming might bring on a higher number of severe snowstorms in the winter and more powerful hurricanes in the summer.

This week’s cold weather will be just a memory within a few days. Forecasters predicted temperatures in the mid-40s F on Sunday and low 50s F on Monday in Chicago. In Washington, the temperatures are expected to be in the mid- to upper 50s for those two days. (VOA)