Polar Vortex Batters the Midwest With Devastating Cold Snap
- by Maggie Mead
UNITED STATES - For the people of the Midwest and New England, their winter wonderland has turned into a winter nightmare. A polar vortex has hit the regions bringing with it extreme cold temperatures as low as -77 degrees Fahrenheit, temperatures low enough to cause frostbite on exposed skin within a matter of minutes. With transportation a major issue, many cities are shutting down almost entirely.
A polar vortex is a large pocket of extremely cold air that sits over the polar region of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter season, and this one has been displaced by a powerful high pressure system originating in the Eastern or Western pacific, as reported by Accuweather. The result has been a massive cold snap, surpassing record low temperatures set as far back as the 1800s.
"An entire generation has gone by without experiencing this type of cold in the Chicago area," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.
As a result, many states have declared states of emergency, shutting down schools and businesses to protect residents from the biting cold. Between the thousands of flight cancellations, foul weather road preparation and snow removal costs, and even loss of life (there have been at least eleven reported weather-related deaths so far), the weather emergency could cost the U.S. upwards of $5 billion, by AccuWeather’s estimates.
The polar vortex is bad news for the ag and food industry too, as with the Super Bowl coming up, deliveries of staples like guacamole and beer will be delayed, according to David Schaper of Byline.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, as experts say residents of the affected areas can look forward to milder weather once the polar vortex passes this weekend (hopefully).
"We can assure people that we will not get another cold wave this winter that is this severe," said AccuWeather Founder and CEO Joel N. Myers. "There will be more bouts of cold weather but nothing nearly this extreme."
AndNowUKnow will keep you updated on this devestating weather event.