Buffalo, New York is slammed by Polar Vortex

Saul Bowman
February 1, 2019

This process previously played out in 2014, when a mass of Arctic air drifted south, breaking temperature records across the U.S. and causing the deaths of at least 21 people.

Wind chill temperatures plummeted to minus-50 in the Dakotas and northern Minnesota Tuesday morning (US time), and that same, painfully frigid air is forecast to spread southeast into Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago and Detroit.

The agency predicted temperatures to remain 25 to 45 degrees below average through Thursday, with wind chill values as low as -25 to -55 degrees Fahrenheit (-32 to -48 Celsius).

Normally, this is a roughly circular current near the North Pole, an atmospheric river of sorts, that keeps cold air bottled over the Arctic. A 21-car pileup on an interstate highway outside Batavia, New York - including a State Police vehicle and at least one tractor-trailer - brought it to a standstill on Wednesday afternoon as drivers attempted to navigate whiteout conditions.

"A record arctic air mass will remain over the central and eastern United States over the next several days", the National Weather Service said.

"This morning is the worst of the worst in terms of the cold", Orrison said. Beneath this lay a dense layer of arctic air that was pushed south over the US.

Due to the low temperature, states of emergency were issued in Wisconsin, Illinois, and MI.

"It's going to be minus 30 in parts of North Dakota today", Hamrick said.

Rockford, Illinois, saw a record low temperature of minus 31 (minus 35 Celsius), on Thursday.

The deadly, sub-zero temperatures were expected to lift by Friday, but the misery would not end quickly in the roughly dozen states most affected.


A wind chill of minus-20 degrees can cause frostbite in as little as 30 minutes.

After the split up, the arctic air takes two weeks to affect the weather and with it comes the freezing breeze we are feeling now.

Beginning signs of redness or pain in any skin area may be a sign of frostbite starting to form.

Schools in parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa remained closed Thursday.

University of Iowa student Gerald Belz, 18, died after he was found unresponsive behind a campus building, while a 75-year-old man was struck and killed by a snow plough near Chicago.

The weather service warned drivers to allow for extra travel time and "possibly hazardous travel" because of accumulating snow and single-digit temperatures impeding road treatment tactics.

"In the handsome Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded". "People can't last outside even for minutes". The U.S. Postal Service even took the rare step of suspending mail delivery in many places. Mail service won't be restored in MI until February 1, officials said.

The weather caused hundreds of traffic accidents, including a chain-reaction collision of about two dozen cars in Grand Rapids, Michigan, during a white-out on January 30, local media reported.

More than 1,800 flights were canceled at Chicago´s two major airports, while rail operator Amtrak scrapped train services from its hub in the city.

Some residents just to the north and northwest of the Twin Cities in Minnesota were asked by Xcel Energy to dial down their thermostats to 60 F (16 C) because of the strains on its natural gas supply system.

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