Ohio Woman Found Dead As Polar Vortex Begins Retreat

James Marshall
February 4, 2019

"They are life-threatening temperatures, and they should be treated accordingly", he cautioned.

While temperatures in much of Midwest (including Minneapolis and Chicago) and Northeast (including Buffalo and Vermont) were hovering around zero degrees Fahrenheit, the weather is expected to warm up during the weekend. "It only shows up marginally in the economic data", said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, who ended up working from home because her offices in Chicago were shut because of weather.

In Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, temperatures were -40C (-40F), with wind chill factors making it feel like -50C (-58F). It is so cold that rail workers in Chicago are reportedlylighting train tracks on fire to keep them functioning, so cold that the National Weather Service is warning people to avoid taking deep breaths outside, so cold that the pets are advised to stay inside strictly.

The wind chill temperature is more than a catchy forecast term. In northern Minnesota, wind chills were forecast to drop to 65-70 degrees below zero, which would rival the coldest wind chill ever recorded in the state (71 below) in 1982. As of 7 a.m., the lowest temperature Moline had reached was minus-33 degrees, a full five degrees lower than the old record of minus-28 set in 1996.

'That's 40 degrees below normal, ' Hurley said.

"Temperatures will slowly begin to moderate as the air mass slowly warms", the National Weather Service said.

Snow coverage downwind of the Great Lakes will wind down straying today and Friday.

Even the Deep South, including Alabama and MS, could see snow. "With more snow on the way, we're not out of the woods yet".

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that cold weather is responsible for the majority of weather-related fatalities.

More than 2,500 flights were canceled across the United States, according to FlightAware.

In Minnesota and Upper Michigan, temperatures hit 29C and parts of North Dakota were at -30C.

On Wednesday, a low of minus 30.5 degrees Celsius was registered in Chicago, which also recorded wind chills, while the city of Rockford in IL saw temperatures plummet to minus 31 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.

Streets in Chicago were almost empty, with few people walking outside in the painfully cold air as temperatures hovered around -28C.

In Michigan, homeless shelters in Lansing were becoming "overloaded", Mayor Andy Schor said. The Milwaukee Rescue Mission's call volume was 'unusually high, ' but officials said there should still be enough beds for those who need them.

Still, memories of the unsafe cold were bound to linger. Some buses were turned into mobile warming shelters in Chicago. He also urged residents to check on their neighbors and take safety precautions.

The cause is a swirl of arctic air that broke away from the polar vortex that usually encircles the North Pole.

The bitter cold is being carried by the polar vortex, an area of low pressure which spins counterclockwise in the stratospheres over the north and south poles. The so-called polar vortex has affected the lives of some 90 million Americans forced to suffer temperatures as low as -52 Celsius (-62F).

It usually stays closer to the poles but sometimes breaks apart, sending chunks of Arctic air southward into the USA during winter.

The split higher up in the atmosphere could eventually cause a similar phenomenon to "drip" down to the troposphere - the layer of the atmosphere closest to the surface, where most of our weather takes place. Many times during winter in the northern hemisphere, the polar vortex will expand, sending cold air southward with the jet stream.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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