Polar vortex to freeze US upper Midwest and Northeast

29 January, 2019, 06:56 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • The Latest Cold weather forces closure of Chicago zoo

The National Weather Service in Chicago says the temperatures in its forecasts are the coldest in 25 years for the region.

But the snow is only "part one, and maybe even the easier part" because temperatures will plummet over the next three days, said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the Weather Prediction Center. O'Hare had delays of about 50 minutes, while delays were about 15 minutes at Midway. Wind chills in northern IL could fall to 55 degrees below zero, which the National Weather Service called "possibly life threatening". Rain chances will be around 70% Tuesday.

Temperatures in the city Thursday are set to reach a teeth-chattering high of 14 degrees and a low of 8 degrees.

Extreme wind chills are also expected: west to northwest winds of 10-20 miles per hour will blow during the coldest period, resulting in risky wind chills below minus 40 degrees to portions of 12 states. On Tuesday morning through Thursday morning, parts of western and central Minnesota could experience risky windchills as low as 65 degrees below zero.

"The area with the most snow likely sets up to the northeast spots, with 3-5" expected when all is said and done.

The "polar vortex" is bearing down on the northern United States and is expected to drive temperatures as low as 20 to 30 degrees below zero, with windchills registering in the low -50s. Will this week's temperatures break any of those records?

Chicago will see its lowest temperatures since the mid-1980s, as it will be around -25C.

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The last time the region weathered temperatures this low was January 18-20, 1994, when Chicago recorded a windchill of minus 21, the NWS said.

The largest public school districts in both states are among those closed, including districts in Milwaukee, Minneapolis and St. Paul.

In Wisconsin, plow drivers were having a hard time keeping up with the snow in Sheboygan.

More than 1,000 flights were canceled at two airports in Chicago, a major regional hub and America's third largest city, in nearby IL.

While accumulations are forecast to be on the order of 1 to 3 inches, the abrupt transition to snow will result in rapidly deteriorating driving conditions.

In Wisconsin's biggest city, Milwaukee, downtown streets were virtually deserted Monday and every major highway in the state covered in ice or snow, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.



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