In US Midwest, 22F 'feels like spring' after days of brutal cold

02 February, 2019, 10:46 | Author: Sherry Houston
  • Predicted near-surface air temperature differences from normal relative to 1981-2010

Temperatures in the Upper Midwest were forecast to rise above -18°C on Friday, and reach as high 4°C by Saturday, while the central Plains would experience temperatures of about 15°C, the weather service said.

The sudden weather change coming this weekend may be the fastest warm-up on record, meteorologists say.

Homeless and displaced people were also particularly at risk, with Chicago and other cities setting up warming shelters.

The weather service initially hinted of a possibility that Thursday morning could shatter the 1985 record.

"This morning is some of the coldest of the temperatures across the Upper Midwest, and we still have some risky wind chills", Andrew Orrison, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said in a phone interview. The overnight low in Boston was at minus 5, according to the National Weather Service.

"It's got to be an nearly 50 degree difference, it feels like spring", said one commuter heading home from Chicago's downtown financial district, wearing only a sweatshirt.

The blast of polar air that enveloped much of the Midwest on Wednesday closed schools and businesses and strained infrastructure with some of the lowest temperatures in a generation.

In the Big Apple, Friday's high will be near 23, with wind-chill values between zero and 10 degrees.

While Thursday's temperatures were a tad more tolerable, with a low of minus 21 and high of 1 degree, the prevailing cold snap took a bad toll on one of Chicago's most vulnerable populations before it finished.

Earlier in the day, several cities set new record lows.

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The brutally cold weather was so intense Thursday, at least 11 states in the continental United States hit a temperature lower than the one recorded in Alaska's northernmost city. The chilliest January 31 recorded in Chicago saw temperatures dip to 12 degrees below zero back in 1985, the weather service said. They were not exaggerating: Going gloveless for only a minute or two, in double-digit negative temperatures, left hands feeling numb, then clumsy and flipper-like, then white-hot with pain.

How is the cold snap affecting daily life?

The Postal Service took the rare step of suspending mail delivery for another day in many places.

Over 1,440 flights have been canceled at O'Hare Airport, and over 250 flights have been canceled at Midway airport.

In Chicago, which experienced temperatures as low as -22° Fahrenheit (-30° Celsius) earlier this week, temperatures of 19°F (-7°C) yesterday morning felt positively balmy as a measure of normalcy returned to the nation's third-largest city.

Rail service Amtrak planned to begin partially restoring service after cancelling on Wednesday all lines in and out of Chicago. British Airways cancelled its 8.40am flight this morning, while its 12.20pm flight was delayed by almost an hour and a half.

Metra trains will run on a modified scheduled.

Power issues drastically subsided by Thursday as well, with only 155 ComEd customers reporting no power about noon, according to the electric company's power outage map.

The Cedar Rapids Kennedy High graduate's father, Michael Belz, said he was told by two doctors, a counselor and a UI police captain that his son's death was not alcohol-related.

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