Over the past week, a “polar vortex” has taken hold of the Midwestern and Northeastern states. Over a foot of snow and frigid temperatures have been making their way across the country, and even the Deep South is feeling the cold as well. These brutal temperatures have shattered records in many states that have stood for more than a century. This shows how cold these temperatures have been in these states, and what we can expect for the season.
Atlanta was undergoing unusually cold temperatures on Tuesday, with six below zero recorded at a local weather station in the Georgia Mountains. West Virginia and the state of Virginia also beat record lows that had been in place since the late 1950’s. Central Park, located in New York City, broke a record as well with 4 degrees below. Chicago set a record at 16 below zero, and Fort Wayne, Ind., had a temperature of 13 below. Many officials in these states are urging their residents to stay inside due to heavy snow accumulations and subzero temperatures. In this type of cold weather, frostbite can occur on exposed skin within five minutes if not taken care of accordingly.
Many residents living in the Midwestern states had trouble dealing with cold-related deaths. There have been at least 21 documented cold-related deaths reported across the country since Sunday. Homeless people who refused shelter or didn’t make it in time were the ones who suffered. The snowy conditions also caused a lot of accidents all over the roads. By the time this system leaves the Unites States, forecasters report that at least 187 million people could feel the cold swath of air.
Any residents that were planning on traveling this week are in for a rude awakening because hundreds of cancellations were in effect for all over the country. On Wednesday morning, more than 500 flights were cancelled across the United States and over 100 were delayed. People who were driving had to be very careful, and many accidents had reported in each state. On Monday, a “code red” was even in effect in the state of Indiana. This means that only Emergency vehicles were allowed on the roads for emergency purposes only. Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin all had hundreds of school closures state-wide to make sure that the children stayed safe and did not get frostbite. Government buildings and some businesses also closed on Monday and Tuesday due to the inclement weather conditions.