Polar Vortex Makes Chicago Colder Than the South Pole

30 January, 2019, 02:57 | Author: Kristi Owen
  • Wind, frigid temps early to mid-week

The wind chills Tuesday were expected to reach 35 below and at night be as low as 55 below zero.

"That's quite risky. You're talking about frostbite and hypothermia issues very quickly, like in a matter of minutes, maybe seconds", Hurley said.

Governor J.B. Pritzker said wind chill could drive temperatures to -55 degrees Fahrenheit in northern IL on Tuesday evening, capable of causing frostbite in a matter of minutes.

Wednesday could be one of Chicago's coldest days ever with the high forecast to be only minus 8-degrees, according to NBC Chicago.

Wind chills could plunge to as low as minus 20 degrees in some areas on Thursday morning. Morning lows are near if not below 0 degrees Thursday morning, and wind chill values are even colder than that.

Temperatures in nearly a dozen states stretching over 1,200 miles from the Dakotas to OH were forecast to be the coldest in a generation, if not on record.

"That's 40 degrees below normal", Hurley said.

Frigid temperatures were already affecting parts of northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Even Alabama and MS could see snow, the NWS reported.

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. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency ahead of the storm.

Residents should ensure that they have a proper amount of propane, wood pellets and/or firewood to last during this cold outbreak.

The Chicago Zoological Society said it would shut down Brookfield Zoo for only the fourth time in its 85-year history on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Minneapolis Public Schools officials have canceled classes through Wednesday, when the region is expected to experience frigidly low temperatures not seen in a quarter century.

Public schools in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Minneapolis said they will remain closed Tuesday and Wednesday due to "historically" cold weather.

This year's winter has been particularly harsh on the residents of central and eastern United States, who have had to endure an abnormally cold weather pattern since the second week of January.

Forecasters say the temperature in northern IL could dip to negative 27 degrees (negative 33 Celsius) with wind-chill values as low as negative 55 degrees (negative 48 Celsius). "That is our number one goal", Emanuel said.

Ironically, the disruption in the polar vortex was caused by warm winds entering the upper atmosphere over the Arctic causing "sudden stratospheric warming" over the North Pole that sent temperatures in the region rapidly up by tens of degrees. The polar vortex is a counterclockwise-spinning rapid current of air that prevents the frigid Arctic weather from escaping into other regions.

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. So if you are among the millions suffering through this brutal weather, be courageous and, most importantly, stay indoors.



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