Polar Vortex LIVE BLOG: Temperature Records Set to Fall Across U.S.

Polar Vortex LIVE BLOG: Temperature Records Set to Fall Across U.S.

Deadly temperatures will threaten the Midwest region until Tuesday in what has been described as the coldest winter outbreak since the 1990s. As Breitbart News has reported, from the Midwest to the Eastern Seaboard, experts are warning of hypothermia and frostbite. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Americans face a greater risk of dying from extremely cold temperatures than from extreme heat as every state besides Hawaii will experience freezing temperatures. Chicago, for instance, has been dubbed “Chiberia.” 

Breitbart News will be providing live updates as the country becomes envious of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where tonight’s BCS title game between Auburn and Florida State will be played. Temperatures are expected to hover around the mid-60s at college football’s most storied venue.

UPDATE: Thousands of flights canceled. Check the status of your flight here: 

UPDATE: Northeast May See 60-Degree Temperature Changes on Tuesday Evening

The Northeast may get hit with drastic temperature changes on Tuesday evening as the arctic blast heads that way after chilling the Midwest. More than 30 states reportedly “posted some sort of wind chill warning or advisory on Monday.”

UPDATE: Perfect weather in Pasadena

UPDATE: Record Low Temperatures in at Two Oklahoma Cities 

UPDATE: Anti-freeze in Car Could Freeze when Temperatures Get Below -35 degrees 

UPDATE: Cell Phone, iPhone Batteries May Not Withstand Cold Temperatures

Some smartphones list the optimum range of temperatures in their technical specs. For example, when it’s turned off, the iPhone 5S can withstand temperatures between -4° and 113° Fahrenheit. When it’s turned on, the range is much more narrow. Apple suggests 32° Fahrenheit as the lowest operating ambient temperature. Other phones are rated for much lower temperatures, and some can go as low as -4° Fahrenheit while in operation.

When lithium-ion batteries are exposed to cold temperatures, their performance suffers. When cold, a phone battery can drain faster than normal or it might say it has ample power remaining and then suddenly go dead. The problems are only temporary and the battery should behave normally when the device is brought back up to warmer temperatures.

“In the event that your phone does shut down, do not restart it until you’re inside and give time for your phone to warm up. Restarting your phone immediately could actually cause more harm to your phone and actually shorten your battery life,” recommends Jeremy Kwaterski of CPR Cell Phone Repair.

It’s not just the battery, says Kwaterski. Smartphones are made up of other delicate electronic parts, like their LCD screens, that can malfunction in extreme temperatures.

Freezing temperatures can also make a phone’s glass surfaces more sensitive to cracks and breaks, especially if there’s already a flaw or nick in any of the glass. There have been reports of the glass on the back of the iPhone shattering in extreme cold temperatures. In Finland, where the average high temperature in the winter is 1°C, the government Consumer Agency has warned citizens that the phones might suffer performance issues in the cold weather.

Read more here.

UPDATE: President Barack Obama warned of “excessively high temperatures” in November in an executive order on climate change. Oops.

UPDATE from Santa Monica, California:

…surfing conditions in the area of Santa Monica, CA were reported to be unusually poor early on Monday morning.

UPDATE: Indianapolis Mayor Bans Driving, Minnesotans Urged to Stay off Roads

In Indiana, where many roads were rendered impassable because of snow and wind, authorities had a simple message: stay home.

“I know the roads look clear, the sun’s out and it all looks nice,” Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said Monday. “But it’s still minus 40 in wind chill — deadly temperatures. So we want to be very, very careful.”

Ballard issued a travel ban for the city, making it illegal for anyone to drive except for emergencies or to seek shelter, until noon Monday. But he wants schools and businesses to remain closed another day until the worst of the severe cold passes.

UPDATE: Opening Day of Indiana Legislative Session Postponed

The Legislature postponed the opening day of its 2014 session, and the state appellate courts, including the Indiana Supreme Court, said they would be closed.

UPDATE: Gateway Arch Closed

UPDATE: JetBlue Shuts Down All Flights at JKF, LaGuardia, Newark and Boston airports until Tuesday

JetBlue has shut down all flights at Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark and Boston airports until Tuesday afternoon to catch up after bad weather forced major delays over the weekend.

A spokeswoman told NBC 4 New York the airline needs to halt service to recover from the backup.

Stopping operations allows overworked crews to get their required hours of rest. 

Flights are expected to resume by 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

UPDATE: DC Public Schools May Close Schools on Tuesday Due to Extreme Cold:

UPDATE: Chicago: Train Hits Post, 14 Passengers Injured 

A rail official says 14 passengers were injured when a commuter train hit a “bumping post” at a downtown Chicago station, the second such accident of the day

UPDATE: Hypothermia Symptoms (via the Mayo Clinic):

Shivering is your body’s automatic defense against cold temperature — an attempt to warm itself. Constant shivering is a key sign of hypothermia. Signs and symptoms of moderate to severe hypothermia include:


Clumsiness or lack of coordination

Slurred speech or mumbling


Confusion or difficulty thinking

Poor decision making, such as trying to remove warm clothes

Drowsiness or very low energy

Apathy or lack of concern about one’s condition

Progressive loss of consciousness

Weak pulse

Slow, shallow breathing

UPDATE: Atlanta Colder than Moscow, Memphis, TN Colder than Anchorage, Alaska

UPDATE: Frostbite Warnings:

“Skin freezes in just five minutes with a wind chill of minus 50,” said HLN meteorologist Bob Van Dillen. Frostbite occurs in 10 minutes with wind chills of minus 35. 

UPDATE: Many Americans Without Electricity:

Via CNN:

As if the brutal cold isn’t bad enough, tens of thousands of Midwesterners are dealing with no electricity.

More than 15,000 customers in Indiana, 6,800 in Illinois and 2,200 in Missouri didn’t have power overnight, according to utility companies. Chicago opened up 12 centers for residents to seek warmth, one of which was to stay open all night through Tuesday. Libraries and some other city facilities would also be open, said Evelyn Diaz of the city’s Department of Family and Support Services. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said 100 warming centers were open statewide.

UPDATE: PDS Doesn’t Stand for “Palin Derangement Syndome” (though it could) today. It Stands for “Particularly Dangerous Situation”:

In a very rare move, Minneapolis issued a “Particularly Dangerous Situation” warning about the “historic and life-threatening cold.” Such warnings are typically issued for tornadoes, CNN meteorologist Indra Petersons noted. 

UPDATE: Obama Administration Uses Cold Weather to Promote Obamacare:

UPDATE: South New Jersey: Drastic Drop in Temperature Expected:

Tuesday morning’s temperatures will feel about 70 degrees colder than they do today, according to an updated and frigid wind chill advisory posted by the National Weather Service Mount Holly Forecast Center.

UPDATE: 61 Degrees Below Zero in Montana

UPDATE: Basketball Team’s Bus Stuck in Snow in Illinois 

Along Interstate 57 in Illinois, the Southern Illinois University men’s basketball team, traveling home by bus after a loss at Illinois State, got stuck in the snow. Dawson Verhines, a junior guard, said on Twitter that the team wound up sleeping on the floor of a church in the city of Tuscola.

UPDATE: Train from Detroit to Chicago Freezes for Nine Hours: 

It was so cold overnight that both engines froze on an Amtrak train from Detroit to Chicago, stranding passengers for nine hours just past Kalamazoo, Mich., until another train arrived to tug it the rest of the way home.

The heat stayed on, but the episode tested patience.

“Not exactly in the best of spirits,” Valerie King, a journalism student at Northwestern University, posted to Twitter from inside the train. Finally in Chicago, she snapped a photo of the train’s outside, which looked freezer-burned.

UPDATE: Minnesota Zoo Closes… “to protect the general public”:

The Minnesota Zoo will be closed to the public on Monday, January 6, 2014 to protect the general public from forecasted dangerously cold weather. In response to Governor Mark Dayton’s announcement today that all of the state’s K-12 public schools will be closed on Monday, the Minnesota Zoo (a State agency) has followed suit and will not be open to the public.  

The National Weather Service predicts that most of the state will experience the coldest temperatures in more than a decade next Monday, with lows reaching -30 degrees and wind chills predicted to reach as low as -50 degrees.

“The safety of our guests is always our first priority,” said Zoo Director Lee C. Ehmke. “We are making this decision to protect members and guests as well as our staff and the Zoo’s 4,300 animals from the extreme cold temperatures now forecasted for next Monday. We thank Governor Dayton for his concern for citizen’s safety and are following suit in order to encourage families to stay home, safe and warm.”

UPDATE: Chicago Dubbed ‘Chiberia’: Colder than South Pole and Alaska; Temperatures Life-Threatening:

According to reports, Temperatures at Chicago reached 15 degrees below zero, and “Officials at O’Hare said more than 1,300 flights were canceled Sunday and several delays were reported due to icing issues. Midway Airport said more than 200 flights were canceled. Customers were advised to check with their airline before heading to the airport.”

For comparison, “Monday’s forecasted high for Barrow, Alaska was 0 degrees.” Chicago’s temperature was also “colder than the South Pole in Antarctica, where the temperature was recorded at 11 degrees below zero at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station before 8 a.m.”

Chicago may face “wind chills that could drop as low as 42 degrees below zero, according to the weather service. As forecasters warned the city of the potentially life-threatening cold, the city was dubbed “Chiberia,” with many using the hashtag to show their weather-related woes.”

In addition, the “frigid temperatures come after Chicago saw two major snowfalls. Total accumulation from the 30 hours of snowfall from Saturday to Sunday amounted to 11.7 inches at O’Hare.”

original story

(AP) ‘Polar vortex’ pushes subzero temps into Midwest
Associated Press
A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a “polar vortex” descended Monday into much of the U.S., pummeling parts of the country with a dangerous cold that could break decades-old records with wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama.

For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures were moving in behind another winter wallop: more than a foot of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous. Officials closed schools in cities including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and warned residents to stay indoors and avoid the frigid cold altogether.

The forecast is extreme: 32 below zero in Fargo, N.D.; minus 21 in Madison, Wis.; and 15 below zero in Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Chicago. Wind chills _ what it feels like outside when high winds are factored into the temperature _ could drop into the minus 50s and 60s.

It hasn’t been this cold for almost two decades in many parts of the country. Frostbite and hypothermia can set in quickly at 15 to 30 below zero.

Between a heater that barely works and the drafty windows that invite the cold air into his home, Jeffery Davis decided he’d be better off sitting in a downtown Chicago doughnut shop for three hours Monday until it was time to go to work. He threw on two pairs of pants, two t-shirts, “at least three jackets,” two hats, a pair of gloves, the “thickest socks you’d probably ever find” and boots, and trudged to the train stop in his South Side neighborhood that took him to within a few blocks of the library where he works.

One after another, people came into the shop, some to buy coffee, others, like Davis, to just sit and wait.

Giovannni Lucero, a 29-year-old painter, said he was prepared for the storm. To keep his pipes from freezing, he’d left the faucet running and opened the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to let the warm air in his house reach the pipes.

And he was reminded on the way to work that he’d make the right decision to buy a four-wheel drive truck. “There were accidents everywhere because of the ice,” he said.

Roads were treacherous across the region. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard upgraded the city’s travel emergency level to “red,” making it illegal for anyone to drive except for emergencies or to seek shelter. The city hasn’t issued such a travel warning since 1978.

National Weather Service meteorologist Philip Schumacher urged motorists in the Dakotas _ where wind chills were as low as the minus 50s _ to carry winter survival kits and a charged cellphone in case they became stranded.

Elnur Toktombetov, a Chicago taxi driver, awoke at 2:30 a.m. Monday anticipating a busy day. By 3:25 a.m. he was on the road, armed with hot tea and doughnuts. An hour into his shift, his Toyota’s windows were still coated with ice on the inside.

For several Midwestern states, the bitter cold was adding to problems caused by a weekend snow storm. The National Weather Service said the snowfall at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport totaled more than 11 inches _ the most since the Feb. 2, 2011, storm that shut down the city’s famed Lake Shore Drive.

Police in suburban Detroit said heavy snow was believed to have caused a roof to collapse at an empty building in Lake Orion on Sunday evening. No one was hurt. More than 10 inches of snow fell on Detroit and over 16 inches coated nearby Flint, Mich.

Missouri transportation officials said it was too cold for rock salt to be effective, and several Illinois roadways were closed because of drifting snow.

More than 1,000 flights were canceled Sunday at airports throughout the Midwest including Chicago, Indianapolis and St. Louis. More than 400 flights were cancelled at Chicago’s airports Monday.

Many cities came to a virtual standstill. In St. Louis, where more than 10 inches of snow fell, the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo were part of the seemingly endless list of things closed. Shopping malls and movie theaters closed, too. Even Hidden Valley Ski Resort, the region’s only ski area, shut down.

School was called off Monday for the entire state of Minnesota, as well as cities and districts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Iowa, among others. Chicago Public School officials reversed an earlier decision to keep schools open, announcing late in the day Sunday that classes would be canceled Monday.

Government offices and courts in several states closed Monday. In Indiana, the General Assembly postponed the opening day of its 2014 session, and the state appellate courts, including the Indiana Supreme Court, said they would be closed.

More than 40,000 homes and businesses in Indiana, 16,000 in Illinois and 2,000 in Missouri were without power early Monday. Indianapolis spokesman Marc Lotter said emergency crews accompanied about 350 people to shelters around the city.

Ray Radlich was among the volunteers at New Life Evangelistic Center, a St. Louis homeless shelter, who braved the cold to search for the homeless and get them to shelters.

Among those Radlich and his team brought in Sunday was 55-year-old Garcia Salvaje, who has been without a home since a fire at his apartment last week. Salvaje, a veteran, had surgery three months ago for a spinal problem. The cold makes the pain from his still-healing back intense.

Continuing a decades-old practice, Chicago Transit Authority was handing out fare cards to social service agencies to be distributed to the homeless so they could ride buses and trains to stay out of the cold.

Southern states were bracing for possible record temperatures too, with single-digit highs expected Tuesday in Georgia and Alabama.

Temperatures plunged into the 20s early Monday in north Georgia, the frigid start of dangerously cold temperatures for the first part of the week. The Georgia Department of Transportation said its crews were prepared to respond to reports of black ice in north Georgia.

Temperatures were expected to dip into the 30s in parts of Florida on Tuesday. Though Florida Citrus Mutual spokesman Andrew Meadows said it must be at 28 degrees or lower four hours straight for fruit to freeze badly, fruits and vegetables were a concern in other parts of the South.

With two freezing nights ahead, Louisiana citrus farmers could lose any fruit they cannot pick in time.

In Plaquemines Parish, south of New Orleans, Ben Becnel Jr. estimated that Ben & Ben Becnel Inc. had about 5,000 bushels of fruit on the trees, mostly navel oranges and the sweet, thin-skinned mandarin oranges called satsumas.


Associated Press writers Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio; Tom Coyne in Indianapolis; Jim Salter in St. Louis; Brett Barrouquere in Louisville, Ky.; Verena Dobnik in New York City; David N. Goodman in Berkeley, Mich.; Ashley M. Heher and Don Babwin in Chicago; and Christine Amario in Miami contributed to this report.