Snow wallops US Midwest as it braces for extreme cold

Ignacio Smith
January 30, 2019

Extreme wind chills are also expected: west to northwest winds of 10-20 miles per hour will blow during the coldest period, resulting in unsafe wind chills below minus 40 degrees to portions of 12 states. Morning lows are near if not below 0 degrees Thursday morning, and wind chill values are even colder than that. Dozens of cities have forecasts at least within one degree of record cold temperatures, including Chicago; Des Moines, Iowa; Cleveland; Detroit and Minneapolis.

A Wisconsin congressman is calling President Donald Trump "a moron" over a tweet that urged global warming to "come back fast" in the face of risky cold hitting the Midwest.

Blizzard conditions were predicted across parts of the western Ohio Valley and snow was expected through Wednesday from the Great Lakes region into New England.

Many parts of Wisconsin had received up to 7 inches of snow as of Monday morning, with forecasts calling for a foot or more in some areas.

You know it's bad when northern states like MI and Wisconsin declare emergencies.

So where will the bone-chilling weather hit and how long it will last?

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As of Tuesday, more than 1,800 flights had been cancelled and more than 8,000 had been delayed.

Extremely cold, record-breaking temperatures are settling across parts of the Midwest after a powerful snowstorm pounded the region overnight Monday, and forecasters are describing the subzero weather on the way as potentially life-threatening.

A deep freeze is forecast to hit the U.S. Midwest this week, with snow, brutally cold temperatures and potentially life-threatening wind chill across northern IL and northwest IN by midweek, the National Weather Service said.

Chicago Zoological Society CEO Stuart Strahl says the closure will ensure the safety of employees and animals.

Even parts of the United States accustomed to cold weather are preparing for the worst. The Milwaukee Rescue Mission's call volume was "unusually high", but there should still be enough beds for those who need them, said the mission's president, Pat Vanderburgh.

The city will also open emergency warming centers Tuesday starting at 6 a.m. "That is our number one goal", Emanuel said. He also urged residents to check on their neighbors and take safety precautions.

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Chenard said a polar vortex refers to the upper level jet stream that typically circulates around both the North and South Poles, keeping the coldest air there.

Extreme cold, big snowstorms - and even unwelcome invasions from the polar vortex - will continue to hit the USA, even as humans continue to warm the planet.

This structure can weaken as a result of abnormal warming in the poles, causing it to split off into smaller "sister vortices" that may travel outside of their typical range.

"The term "polar vortex" has become more commonly used in the past couple of years but the phenomenon has been around forever", National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Chenard told Reuters in an interview.

Snow Blankets Wisconsin; Winter Storm Warning Remains In Effect was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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