Spine chilling cold hits US, Chicago as temperature drops to -40° Celsius
Chicago: Life has come to a standstill as temperature fell below -40° Celsius in Chicago and some parts of the United States. At least 12 people were killed as the blast of icy polar air brought dangerously low temperatures to the US Midwest. The extreme cold weather disrupted the normal life in several parts of US including Chicago.
All state offices and educational institutions have been closed and residents are advised to remain indoors. In a rare move, US Postal Service has suspended its deliveries from parts of the Dakotas through Ohio.
According to the authorities, Chicago recorded minus 40 degrees Celsius temperature in early morning hours. The bitter cold was the result of a split in the polar vortex, a mass of cold air that normally stays bottled up in the Arctic. The split allowed the air to spill much farther south than usual.
At least a dozen deaths related to extremely cold weather have been reported since Saturday in Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, according to officials and media reports. Twenty-one people, who were stranded in a charter bus that broke down in sub-zero temperatures, were rescued by Illinois State Police officers, as per media.
Reports suggest that Chicago is even colder than Antarctica this year, as well as worse than ‘Chiberia’ event in 2014 when the temperatures were recorded at -16 degree celsius.The polar vortex is a wind system that is centered around the North Pole. However, this year it has shifted southwards, engulfing North America in a thick layer of ice and snow.
Despite the record-breaking and spine-chilling cold, people in the mid-West have been trying to sustain themselves. The railway tracks are being set on fire to ensure that they continue to function, and that communication systems are not disrupted. There seems no respite from this bitter cold in the next few days and people are advised to remain cautious.