A deep freeze in the Midwest is causing arctic temperatures and dangerous conditions in the region
An extreme freeze is blasting the Midwest this week, causing school closures, potentially record-breaking low temperatures and a rare suspension of the U.S. Postal Service.
According to USA Today, USPS announced that no mail will be delivered to select parts of Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania on Wednesday. USPS did not confirm when postal service would resume in these areas, but added that some retail offices of the postal service will remain open.
On Wednesday, dangerously cold wind chills caused by a displaced polar vortex are expected to drop temperatures in the Midwest near -30 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill could be as low as -50 of -60 degrees Fahrenheit — the lowest they’ve been in more than two decades, Weather.com reported.
The Midwest will even have temperatures that are colder than parts of Antarctica and Alaska.
“A record arctic air mass will remain over the central and eastern U.S. over the next several days,” the National Weather Service tweeted on Tuesday. “Wind chill values of 30 to 60 degrees below zero will be common across the Northern Plains, Great Lakes, and upper Midwest.”
According to The Boston Globe, at least four deaths were linked to the extreme weather on Tuesday. These included a Milwaukee man found frozen to death, a man killed by a snowplow in the Chicago area and a couple who died in an SUV crash on a snowy road in Indiana.
In Chicago, train crews lit tracks on fire to keep them from freezing over.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel emphasized the importance of staying indoors. On Tuesday, he tweeted, “As temperatures continue to drop, we’re adding extra beds to shelters to ensure everyone in need has a safe, warm place to stay. No one in need of a shelter bed will be turned away.”
The National Weather Service in Des Moines, Iowa, warned on Tuesday morning that anyone outside should “minimize talking.”
“Make sure your mouth is covered to protect your lungs from severely cold air,” the NWS said, according to USA Today. “Avoid taking deep breaths; minimize talking.”
“This is the coldest air many of us will have ever experienced. It’s not a case of ‘Meh, it’s Iowa during winter and this cold happens.’ These are record-breaking cold air temperatures, with wind chill values not seen in the 21st century in Iowa.”