Polar Vortex Puts Midwest in Deep Freeze


Much of the nation is bracing for the second major winter blast of 2014 - this time in the form of record-breaking cold.

Forecasters say the dangerous chill will affect people from Montana to Alabama, with wind chills reaching 65 below zero in parts of the Midwest.

"It's getting nice and balmy. You know, seven below," one Minnesota driver remarked.

The arctic blast is the result of a whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as the "polar vortex." Plummeting temperatures are putting more than half of the nation in a deep freeze.

How low will temperatures fall overnight? Accuweather's Heather Waldman has more, following Heather Sell's report on CBN Newswatch, Jan. 6.

In Fargo, N.D., it's 25 below zero. In International Falls, Minn., the temperature is a negative 31 degrees and in Indianapolis and Chicago it's a negative 15.

"These are extremely dangerous conditions and we strongly urge people to heed the warnings and take the necessary precautions to stay safe. If you can stay indoors, please do so," Chicago Emergency Management Director Gary Schenkel advised.

As if temperatures of 15 to 30 below aren't bad enough, in many areas, the wind chill will make it feel more like 50 to 60 below. With temperatures that low, frostbite can occur in only five minutes.

Snow and ice are accompanying the cold in some areas, causing another round of travel problems. In New York Sunday, one plane slid off the runway. At Chicago O'Hare more than 1,200 flights were cancelled.

"I just want to go home," Logan Airport passenger Amy Roy said. "I just want to get back settled in. We've been cooped up for two days."

School was called off Monday for the entire state of Minnesota, as well as cities and districts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa. Chicago officials said school would be in session, but absences would be excused.

Meanwhile, authorities are warning people to stay indoors when possible and to check on elderly and disabled relatives and neighbors.

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