Dangerous polar vortex blamed for 21 deaths across U.S.

January 8, 2014 CHICAGOFountains froze over, a 200-foot Ferris wheel in Atlanta shut down, and Southerners had to dig out winter coats, hats and gloves they almost never have to use. The brutal polar air that has made the Midwest shiver over the past few days spread to the East and the Deep South on Tuesday, shattering records that in some cases had stood for more than a century. The mercury plunged into the single digits and teens from Boston and New York to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and Little Rock – places where many people don’t know the first thing about extreme cold. “I didn’t think the South got this cold,” said Marty Williams, a homeless man, originally from Chicago, who took shelter at a church in Atlanta, where it hit a record low of 6 degrees. “That was the main reason for me to come down from up North, from the cold, to get away from all that stuff.” The morning weather map for the eastern half of the U.S. looked like an algebra worksheet: lots of small, negative numbers. In fact, the Midwest and the East were colder than much of Antarctica. The cold turned deadly for some: Authorities reported at least 21 cold-related deaths across the country since Sunday, including seven in Illinois, and six in Indiana. At least five people died after collapsing while shoveling snow, while several victims were identified as homeless people who either refused shelter or didn’t make it to a warm haven soon enough to save themselves from the bitter temperatures. In Missouri on Monday, a 1-year-old boy was killed when the car he was riding in struck a snow plow, and a 20-year-old woman was killed in a separate crash after her car slid on ice and into the path of a tractor-trailer.
In a phenomenon that forecasters said is actually not all that unusual, all 50 states saw freezing temperatures at some point Tuesday. That included Hawaii, where it was 18 degrees atop Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano. The big chill started in the Midwest over the weekend, caused by a kink in the “polar vortex,” the strong winds that circulate around the North Pole. By Tuesday, the icy air covered about half the country, and records were shattered like icicles up and down the Eastern Seaboard. It was 1 degree in Reading, Pa., and 2 in Trenton, N.J. New York City plummeted to 4 degrees; the old record for the date was 6, set in 1896. “It’s brutal out here,” said Spunkiy Jon, who took a break from her sanitation job in New York to smoke a cigarette in the cab of a garbage truck. “Your fingers freeze off after three minutes, your cheeks feel as if you’re going to get windburn, and you work as quick as you can.” Farther south, Birmingham, Ala., dipped to a low of 7, four degrees colder than the old mark, set in 1970. Huntsville, Ala., dropped to 5, Nashville, Tenn., got down to 2, and Little Rock, Ark., fell to 9. Charlotte, N.C., reached 6 degrees, breaking the 12-degree record that had stood since 1884. The deep freeze dragged on in the Midwest as well, with the thermometer reaching minus 12 overnight in the Chicago area and 14 below in suburban St. Louis. More than 500 Amtrak passengers were stranded overnight on three Chicago-bound trains that were stopped by blowing and drifting snow in Illinois. Food ran low, but the heat stayed on. The worst should be over in the next day or two, when the polar vortex is expected to straighten itself out. Warmer weather – that is, near or above freezing – is in the forecast for much of the stricken part of the country. –Chicago Defender
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This entry was posted in Blizzard, Civilizations unraveling, Climate unraveling, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earth's core dynamics, Erratic Jet Stream, Extreme Weather Event, High-risk potential hazard zone, Ice Storm, Magnetic pole migration, Record Cold temperatures, Record snowfall, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Time - Event Acceleration. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dangerous polar vortex blamed for 21 deaths across U.S.

  1. Irene C says:

    I am always saddened when I hear of people not taking frigid cold temperatures seriously, just like they don’t take severe storms seriously in the Spring and Summer. We had an accident here last night. A young man, 18 years old, was driving too fast on a curvy road, hit a patch of ice and slammed into a tree. He wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected. He didn’t make it. He was still a senior in high school with his whole life ahead of him. I don’t know him but I still cried.

    The one thing I am grateful for is, around here at least, there were many organizations who made the effort to get the homeless off the street. We had several places open their doors and provide food and shelter to those who are unable to care for themselves.

    I just pray that the next time, people will listen to the warnings. Extreme cold kills. Those of us who live in the North understand this. And yes, it can get cold in the South. When I lived in Georgia, I always kept blankets and coats packed away somewhere – just in case.

  2. John Paily says:

    Much of the word thinks Global warming is Heat/temperature concerned process. They are wrong it is situation of accelerated change. It is common sense that when one part of earth is heating and unwinding another part or its parallel world is winding and cooling. When we exponentially heat the system, earth strives to wind and cool it, thus we end in flash flood/snows, earth quakes and volcanic eruptions. It is time to watch out for yellow stone and huge earth quakes. Earth will strive to balance herself at all cost. She is stressing us to evolve or perish http://www.thecanadiandaily.ca/2013/08/30/part-1-knowledge-that-can-save-humanity-from-climate-catastrophes/

  3. kennycjr says:

    Colder that most of Antarctica? ???

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