News / USA

Polar Vortex Triggers Record Cold in Much of US

  • A pedestrian covers up against single digit temperatures in New York, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Traffic backs up along I-75 due to icy conditions on pavement in Detroit, Michigan, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Ice in the Mississippi River flows past the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • Isabella and Zadok Graff check on their family's beef cattle during freezing temperatures in Middletown, Illinois, Jan. 7, 2014.
  • A man is silhouetted against the arctic sea smoke rising off Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Matt Frame brushes off a Buick at Ray Laethem Buick-GMC in Detroit, Michigan, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Commuters gather under warming lamps on one of Chicago's famous "El" lines as they experience wind chills expected to reach far below zero, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Two pedestrians go down a street in Chicago's South Loop with temperatures well below zero, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Time and temperature signs in Lawrence, Kansas, Jan. 6, 2014.
  • Daryl Daugherty clears the sidewalk in front of his home in Carmel, Indiana, Jan. 6, 2014.
VOA News
Relief is on the way to the United States, which has seen days of life-threatening cold due to record low temperatures.
 
Temperatures are expected to rise to near normal in the Midwest by Thursday, and spring-like weather is expected in the east by the end of the week.
 
Temperatures in all or parts of each of the 50 states were below freezing at some point Tuesday, even in Hawaii, where it was minus six degrees Celsius on top of the state's highest mountain.
 
The cold that froze over midwestern cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis spread to the eastern part of the country Tuesday. It was minus 10 degrees Celsius in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, with the wind chill making it feel much colder.
 
Temperatures also reached record lows in the normally temperate south.

Watch related video by VOA's Arash Arabasadi

Polar Vortex Hits Northeast USi
X
January 07, 2014 8:59 PM
A cold, low-pressure system is freezing much of the United States. It’s called a Polar Vortex, and as the name suggests, it usually hangs out around the North and South Poles. But this rotating mass of cold dense air is being pushed south from its usual place in northern Canada, sending temperatures plummeting. The Midwest bears most of the brunt, but as Arash Arabasadi reports, almost no one is being spared.

The bitter cold shut down schools, disrupted train service, and led to the cancellation of thousands of flights. At least five deaths have been reported nationwide.
 
The frigid weather was caused by what meteorologists call a polar vortex -- a rotating mass of cold dense air that usually stays in place in northern Canada, but was pushed south by the jet stream.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Al Gore from: D.C.
January 07, 2014 9:42 AM
It is definitely the global warming that is causing this cold.
In Response

by: Markt from: Virginia
January 09, 2014 11:43 AM
while I live in VA now, I grew up outside of Buffalo, NY...the weather there is a contrast of extremes, being right off Lake Erie. Summers are brutally hot and humid and last for 4-5 months, winters are bone chilling cold with lots of snow (lake effect) and wind chills in the low teens as a matter of cause, and that also lasts 4-5 months...Spring and Fall are squeezed in there somewhere. I left that area when I joined the military in 1981 (and never looked back, lol). This has been going on for far longer than my time living there, and longer than all this nonsense talk of Global Warming. While I do think climate change, pollution and all that contribute, this has been going on for centuries. Not a 'new' phenomenon, by any stretch of the imagination.
In Response

by: Barrie from: Calgary, AB Canada
January 08, 2014 7:47 PM
For certain. Anyone with any knowledge of weather systems should realise this. The Fox "News" people are falling all over themselves to try to reopen the so-called debate over Global warming. Do they really think that New York, Washington or Chicago constitute the entire globe's climate and weather?
If anyone thinks it has never been this cold wherever they live should look up newspaper archives or weather records from the 1700s (you know, around when the U.S. was a new nation) or early 1800s. They didn't have a weather service like we have today, but there are plenty of pictures and written accounts of winter conditions then. Horses were well-bundled to withstand the chill while hitched to carriages, and in the latter, there were no automatic climate control systems to keep the occupants cozy.
Meanwhile, while North America is colder than usual, the Indian sub-continent is suffering through an unusually hot period, even for their summer. Temperatures in the mid-50s (Celsius) have been common for several days, causing zoos to treat their charges with frozen fish and steaks and other treats (suitable for the species) to help them cope with the heat. I suppose that area is not part of the globe that is being considered by the sensationalist media.

by: Markt from: Virginia
January 07, 2014 8:43 AM
Here in Virginia it is 11 degrees outside, wind chill is -8 and the temperature inside my house is a balmy 59 degrees thanks to a transformer on the power pole outside our house going sour last night. Took the folks at REC an hour to fix it in the frigid night air (kudos to them, I salute you) and restore power to my house and the last two houses on our lane. It is not only cold outside, but cold inside as well, lol...hoping that it warms up into the 60s in the house my tonight....
In Response

by: Barrie from: Calgary, AB
January 08, 2014 7:56 PM
Our next-door neighbour's son and family live in the National Capital Area, so they (the parents, anyway) have seen this before, but the high humidity along the coast creates cold like we don't experience inland where the winter humidity is much lower. We hope they and their neighbours - heck, all affected by the weather - are doing well and keeping as warm as possible.
And don't forget the utility workers, plus all emergency personnel, including EMT s and tow truck operators, who have to work in the nasty conditions. They are real live heroes, many of whom don't get enough credit for their work.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs