whirlpool of frigid air spells danger
Chicago, 6 January
Icy, snow-covered roads and high winds made travel treacherous from the Dakotas to Michigan and Missouri as much of the USA braced for dangerously cold temperatures that could break records.
A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a “polar vortex” was expected to suppress temperatures in more than half of the continental USA starting into today and tomorrow, with wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama.
The forecast is extreme: 31 Celsius below zero degree in Fargo, North Dakota, minus 35 Celsius in International Falls, Minnesota, and below 26 Celsius in Indianapolis and Chicago. Wind chills what it feels like outside when high winds are factored into the temperature could drop into the negative 50s and 60s. Northeastern Montana was warned yesterday of wind chills up to 51 below zero Celsius. “It’s just a dangerous cold,” National Weather Service meteorologist Butch Dye in Missouri said.
Several Midwestern states received up to 30 cm of fresh snow yesterday. The National Weather Service said snowfall at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago totalled more than 28 cm as of 6 p.m. (local time) yesterday the most since the 2 February, 2011, storm.
In Chicago, temperatures were expected to bottom out around minus 26 degree Celsius overnight, likely setting a daily record, National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Fenelon said. Earlier yesterday, temperatures sank to 29 below Celsius and colder in northern Minnesota and Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Floods threaten UK: Britain is bracing itself for more flooding as a winter storm named Hercules made its way from the US to the country’s coastline. Huge waves are battering the southern coast of the UK with waves of up to 27 feet recorded in Cornwall. Travel by road and rail is being hit, affecting many returning to work after the holiday period.