Published: Fri, February 01, 2019
Science | By

The Chicago River freezes as the polar vortex hits US Midwest

The Chicago River freezes as the polar vortex hits US Midwest

Hudson Valley Weather is now predicting a low Wednesday night of -8 degrees with wind chills of -10 to -35 degrees Thursday's high will be near 11 degrees and a low of around -3 degrees.

Chicago's temperature dropped to a low of around minus 21 degrees (minus 30 Celsius) on yesterday, slightly above the city's lowest-ever reading of minus 27 degrees (minus 32 Celsius) in January 1985.

Officials throughout the region were focused on protecting vulnerable people from the cold, including the homeless, seniors and those living in substandard housing.

A homeless man sitting outside a coffee shop accepts cash from a customer on a bitter cold morning, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, in Portland, Maine, The polar vortex that's bringing misery to the upper Midwest is making an appearance in northern New England, where some places will struggle to reach the single digits.

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

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.

A Wind Chill Warning means the combination of very cold air and the wind will create dangerously low wind chill values.

It was colder than Alaska's state capital and even colder than parts of Antarctica.

But on Friday, Amtrak train services that were halted since Wednesday in Chicago's hub will resume, as will US Postal service halted or limited in six Midwest states.

More than 2,300 flights were cancelled across the US on Thursday, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.


Passengers exit a subway train, bundled against the cold, on January 30, 2019 in NY. Here's How -50 Degrees Feels Like in Chicago and Other Cities in the U.S.

A Wind Chill Advisory means that cold air and the wind will combine to create low wind chills.

Like Illinois, Michigan is also reeling under freezing conditions.

Many schools, businesses and restaurants remained shut on Thursday.

Throughout the Midwest, hospitals reported patients arriving with symptoms tied to the weather such as frostbite or hypothermia.

A woman boards a subway train as heavy snow falls on January 30, 2019 in NY. On Wednesday, cancellations topped 2,700.

"We're bringing the warming shelters to them, so they can stay near all of their stuff and still warm up", said Cristina Villarreal, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Family and Support Services.

It's been more than two decades since a similar Arctic blast covered a swath of the Midwest and Northeast.

It's so cold that Chicago is setting its train tracks on fire to keep them operational.

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