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Jan 08, 2014| Courtesy by : dailymail.co.uk
By LOUISE BOYLE
Brutal, life-threatening cold descended over the East and the South, sending the mercury plummeting on Tuesday into the single digits and teens from New York and Washington to Atlanta, Nashville and Birmingham – where many people have little experience in dealing with freezing weather.
After pounding the Midwest and Great Lakes over the weekend, snow from winter storm Ion started to move into the East on Tuesday.
The morning weather map for the eastern half of the U.S. was dotted with lots of small, negative numbers with the Midwest and the East were colder than much of Antarctica.
The historic freeze shuttered schools, businesses and made road conditions treacherous. More than 3,700 flights – around one out of every 10 domestic departures – were canceled on Monday with delays continuing today. The majority of cancellations were in Chicago, Cleveland, New York and Boston.
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A vehicle drives through a barely visible intersection of Route 33 and Batavia Stafford Townline Road on Tuesday in Stafford, New York. Dangerously cold polar air snapped decades-old records as it spread Tuesday from the Midwest to southern and eastern parts of the U.S.
An exterior waterfall that froze overnight is seen at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC on Tuesday
Commuters exit Union Station with wind chills nearing minus 30F in downtown Chicago (left) as a woman and young boy head to school in Manhattan on Tuesday morning
Almost 1,200 flights were canceled at Chicago’s two airports on Tuesday as a deep freeze lingers across the country.
The city’s Department of Aviation said today that airlines have canceled about 1,000 flights at O’Hare International Airport. Another 180 were canceled at Midway International Airport. Delays were reported at both facilities.
On Monday, airlines canceled about 1,700 flights at the two airports, while 1,300 were canceled Sunday when nearly foot of snow fell on the city.
The National Weather Service says the temperature was 10 degrees below zero at O’Hare on Tuesday morning, although the wind chill made it feel significantly colder. By midday, the temperature climbed to two below.
Georgia, where the temperature dropped into the single digits, was colder than many cities in Alaska. While Kodiak and Juneau registered 39 and Anchorage was at 27, Atlanta dipped to 6 degrees early in the morning, or nearly 30 degrees below the average low this time of year.
‘This is severely cold for these parts,’ said Brian Lynn, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Peachtree City, Georgia. ‘Single digits are a rare event.’
Farther south in Pensacola, Florida, a Gulf Coast city better known for its white sand beaches than frost, streets normally filled with joggers, bikers and people walking dogs were deserted early on Tuesday as temperatures remained in the teens after sunrise.
A sign on a bank near the bus stop flashed 19 degrees at around 8am. Patches of ice sparkled in parking lots where puddles froze overnight.
In the East, a blizzard smothered western New York with up to 18 inches of snow and wind gusts of up to 50 mph. As much as 3 feet of snow could fall there by the time the storm eases on Wednesday.
In New York City, Central Park was 5F on Tuesday, the coldest January 7 since 1896, according to NBC New York.
Airports LaGuardia, Newark and JFK were also hit with record lows. Newark airport fell to 4 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
Temperatures in parts of West Virginia hit lows not seen for 25 years, while the extreme cold in Virginia broke records that had stood since the late 1950s.
The National Weather Service said the mercury bottomed out at 3 degrees before sunrise at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshal International Airport, with a wind chill of minus 16.
Forecasters said some 187 million people in all could feel the effects of the ‘polar vortex’ by the time it spread across the country.
PJM Interconnection, which operates the power grid supplying energy to more than 61 million people in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and South, asked users to conserve electricity because of the cold, especially in the morning and late afternoon.
Meanwhile, recovery was the focus in several Midwestern states. The subzero cold followed inches of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous and was blamed for numerous deaths in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
On Monday, the temperatures reached such extreme lows across the Midwest that Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago was forced to keep their polar bear Anana indoors in a ‘climate-controlled’ area.
A zoo spokesman explained polar bears in the Arctic would normally develop a fat blubber layer to deal with sub-zero temperatures but that Anana hasn’t done so in the generally warmer environment of the windy city.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence issued disaster declarations, a first step toward seeking federal aid.
At least 15,000 customers in Indiana were without power early on Tuesday. Utility crews worked to restore service as temperatures plunged into the negative teens, but officials warned that some customers could be in the cold and dark for days.
A man bundled against the cold grabs a hot coffee as temperatures dipped into the single digits on Tuesday in Washington, DC (left). A woman wraps up warm for the walk to the metro as the wind chill made it feel even colder in the nation’s capital
A commuter departs from Union Station with wind chills nearing minus 30F in Chicago (left) as a man struggles to stay warm on the streets of New York City
More than 500 Amtrak passengers spent the night on three trains headed for Chicago that were stranded because of blowing and drifting snow in Illinois. Spokesman Marc Magliari said all the passengers, traveling from Los Angeles, San Francisco and Quincy, Ill., would reach Chicago by train or bus later Tuesday.
Warmer weather – at least, near or above freezing – is in the forecast for much of the eastern half of the U.S. Indianapolis should reach 27 degrees on Wednesday, and other cities in the Midwest and in the East could climb above freezing later in the week.
By Wednesday, subzero high temperatures will be virtually gone from the Lower 48 States. On Thursday, highs in the 20s or 30s in much of the Great Lakes and Northeast will seem downright balmy compared to earlier in the week.
The deep freeze is to blame for at least 13 deaths so far – almost all of them from traffic accidents. A man in Wisconsin died of hypothermia, while an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s was found dead in the snow about 100 yards away from her home in New York state after wandering out.
Monday’s subzero temperatures broke records in Chicago, which set a record for the date at minus 16, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the mercury fell to 13 below.
Records also fell in Oklahoma and Texas, and wind chills across the region were 40 below and colder. Officials in states like Indiana already struggling with high winds and more than a foot of snow urged residents to stay home if they could.
‘The cold is the real killer here,’ Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said on Monday as he asked schools and businesses to remain closed another day. ‘In 10 minutes you could be dead without the proper clothes.’
In Minnesota, officials took the rare step of closing all of the state’s public schools on Monday – the first time in 17 years.
Schools across Chicago, Milwaukee and St Louis were also closed, while officials in Washington D.C. and as far south as Atlanta have announced school closures today.
On Monday the winds made it feel like 55 below zero in International Falls, Minnesota, and parts of the Midwest accustomed to temperatures that are cold – albeit seldom this cold.
But even the coal fields of Virginia and West Virginia, the wind chill was negative 35.
Every major weather-reporting station in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin reported temperatures below zero at 11am on Monday, and South Dakota would have joined them if not for the reading of 1 at Rapid City.
The coldest temperature reported in a 24-hour period through Monday was -36 degrees at Crane Lake, Minnesota. The warmest: 84 at Hollywood and Punta Gorda, Fla.
On Monday morning, Nashville was 40 degrees colder than Albany, New York. Memphis, Tennessee, was 20 degrees colder than Anchorage, Alaska. And Atlanta was colder than Moscow – either Russia or Idaho.
In the Great Lakes region, temperatures hovered in the negative 20s – before wind chill, which dropped temps to the negative 50s, making it very dangerous to go outside.
Meteorologists have warned about ‘dangerous, life-threatening winds’, that can inflict frostbite on exposed skin in just 10 minutes.
Temperatures are so cold across the Midwest that antifreeze in residents’ cars could freeze, the National Journal pointed out. The popular brand freezes at 34 degrees – and the coldest temperature on Monday afternoon was minus 35 in Crane Lake, Minnesota.
‘Skin freezes in just five minutes with a wind chill of minus 50,’ said HLN meteorologist Bob Van Dillen as wind chills are putting temperatures in northern Minnesota at 60 below zero.
For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures were moving in behind another winter wallop: more than a foot of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous.
With wind chills as low as 45 below zero at some airports, workers could only remain exposed on the ramp for a few minutes. That made loading and unloading luggage a challenge.
JetBlue Airways stopped all scheduled flights to and from New York and Boston.
Operations will begin to ramp up again at 10am on Tuesday and the airline expects to be fully operational by 3pm on Tuesday. It will allow the company to rest crew and give it time to service aircraft.
American Airlines said temperatures were so cold at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport that fuel and de-icing liquids were actually frozen. United Airlines said its fuel is pumping slower than normal in Chicago.
Wind chills: Left, a pedestrians walks in in Chicago’s South Loop with temperatures well below zero. Right, a graphic charts the average time it takes to become frostbitten by wind wind chill – a very real possibility in some of the most snow-ravaged spots in the country
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2535029/Coldest-morning-decades-Millions-wake-record-low-temperatures-final-blast-POLAR-VORTEX-barreling-U-S-creating-coldest-temperatures-recorded-20-years.html#ixzz2pmlFd600
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