US set for record low temperatures as historic freeze heightens fears of frostbite and hypothermia
At least 16 deaths were blamed on a snow storm that swept across the eastern half of the US as North Dakota experiences -35C
An icy blast descending across the US has seen record-breaking low temperatures, with a “polar vortex” leading to the worst freeze in decades and wind chills of -55 Celsius.
It is the coldest period for 20 years in the capital Washington DC, and is forecast to continue with the mercury dipping well below zero right across the country.
The worst of the heavy snow is believed to be over, but forecasters say the chill is set to stay at least into early next week, stemming from a pool of cold, dense air sweeping down from the North Pole and Canada.
“If you're under 40 you've not seen this stuff before,” said Weather Bell meteorologist Ryan Maue.
At least 16 people have died as a direct result of the snow storm which affected areas from the Midwest to the eastern seaboard, including three who officials say were killed simply by the extreme cold.
Yesterday saw temperatures of -38C recorded in Maine – in such conditions, experts said, it takes just minutes for exposed skin to get frostbitten and hypothermia can quickly follow.
Looking forward, the forecasts are for -31C in North Dakota, -35C in Minnesota and -26C in Indianapolis and Chicago.
Even in Kentucky, a southern state where average temperatures rarely get below zero, the forecast tomorrow is for -18C, described as “definitely record-breaking” by weather service meteorologist Christine Wielgos.
“It's just a large area of very cold air that comes down, forms over the North Pole or polar regions ... usually stays in Canada, but this time it's going to come all the way into the eastern US,” said fellow meteorologist Phillip Schumacher.
With wind chills reaching -45, -50 or even -55C, transport, schools and sports fixtures have all been affected.
State officials have shut down schools for the entire of Minnesota tomorrow – the first blanket decision of its kind for 17 years.
The cold temperatures kept last week’s snow light and powdery, preventing it from weighing down electrical lines or tree limbs. As a result there were only a few thousand power cuts in the Northeast.
However, a transformer malfunctioned after an overnight blizzard in Canada, knocking out power to 190,000 customers in Newfoundland. About 125,000 people remained without electricity yesterday.
Additional reporting by AP
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The one chart that shows how George Osborne is almost certainly going to be our next Prime Minister
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...