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

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs