Published: Sat, February 02, 2019
Science | By

At Least 12 Dead as Arctic Cold Blasts US Northeast and Midwest

At Least 12 Dead as Arctic Cold Blasts US Northeast and Midwest

Chicago - At least 21 people died in the US Midwest as the region shivers in the grip of its worst cold snap in decades. Numerous cold-related fatalities were in MI, where the governor said the death toll was still being confirmed.

Officials across multiple states linked numerous deaths to the frigid air, with the homeless and elderly being among the most vulnerable.

According to details, at least 9 people in Chicago only were reported to have died from frostbites and cold-related injuries, raising the death toll from a previous 12.

Poulakidas, a trauma specialist, said the hospital had seen about 25 frostbite victims this week. He said the most severe cases risked having fingers and toes amputated.

Authorities in MI confirmed two weather-related deaths on Wednesday, including a former city council member found near his home and a 70-year-old man who had been out in the elements in just his underwear.

Train service Amtrak said it would cancel all trains in and out of Chicago on Wednesday.

Two people in IL died as a result of the storm activity and punishing temps, one after being struck by a snowplow and the other after falling down while trying to get in his home. But many toughed it out in camps or vacant buildings.

"There's just no way if you're not near a heat source that you can survive for very long out in weather like this", Evans told the Chronicle-Telegram newspaper.

The bitter cold was caused by a displacement of the polar vortex, a stream of air that normally spins around the stratosphere over the North Pole, but whose current was disrupted and was now pushing south.

General Motors suspended operations at 11 MI plants and its Warren Tech Center after a utility company made an emergency appeal to customers to conserve natural gas.

In Detroit, General Motors Co suspended operations at 11 MI plants to cut natural gas consumption.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also cancelled a shift yesterday at two of its plants.

For the second day in a row, the intense cold and windy conditions forced U.S. airlines to cancel more than 2,000 flights.

Flight tracking website, FlightAware, said close to 3,300 flights in and out of O'Hare Airport and more than 850 at Midway Airport were canceled between Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon.

The Arctic air mass that descended from its usual northern rotation on Wednesday caused the second coldest day ever recorded in the Windy City, where residents reported hearing "frost quakes".

The weather station at the Moline Quad-City Airport sent a reading of minus-29 degrees at 11:19 p.m., which was enough to break the record, and then continued to drop even further through the early-morning hours Thursday.

Temperatures in Minneapolis dipped as low as 28 degrees below zero, with the wind chill reaching 53 degrees below zero, the National Weather Service said.

Temperatures from southern New England to the Upper Midwest should climb back up to the mid-40s to low 50s Fahrenheit (4 to 10 degrees Celsius) through the weekend and Monday, forecasters said.

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