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Temperature breaks record in northern IL

01 February 2019

Warmer-than-normal weather was on the way, but that offered little comfort to vulnerable populations such as the homeless and elderly enduring cold that caused frostbite in minutes and made being outside potentially deadly. A storm system has pushed temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees Celsius in the Great Lakes region, where the Niagara Falls is located.

Brutally cold temperatures gripped the US Midwest on Thursday, freezing water mains, causing power outages, canceling flights and straining natural gas supplies.

The bitter cold was caused by displacement of the polar vortex, a stream of air that normally spins around the stratosphere over the North Pole but whose current was disrupted.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said state police would crack down on truckers who violated a travel ban on Interstate 90 between Rochester and the Pennsylvania border, after a tractor-trailer crash was blamed for a major pileup. The wind chill at the time officers found Belz was minus 51 F (minus 46 C), according to the National Weather Service.

General Motors Co said late on Wednesday it would temporarily suspend operations at 11 MI plants and its Warren Tech Center after a utility made an emergency appeal to users to conserve natural gas.

According to NASA's Earth Observatory office, the culprit behind the killer weather is a front of low pressure and cold air sweeping in from the Arctic circle.

States of emergency have been declared from Wisconsin and MI, down to Alabama and Mississippi. Several other locations in Minnesota and North Dakota plunged to risky lows, including Warren, Minnesota (minus-47); Lisbon, North Dakota (minus-46); and Park Rapids, Minnesota (minus-42). As of 7 a.m., the lowest temperature Moline had reached was minus-33 degrees, a full five degrees lower than the old record of minus-28 set in 1996.

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The NWS has warned people in affected areas to cover their mouths when outside to protect their lungs from the "severely cold air". "Areas most prone to frostbite are uncovered skin and the extremities, such as hands and feet".

U.S. media attributed at least four deaths to the extreme cold and the major snowstorm that preceded it. Some died from apparent exposure to the elements, others in weather-related traffic accidents.

At least eight deaths were linked to the system, including an elderly IL man who was found several hours after he fell trying to get into his home and a University of Iowa student found behind an academic hall several hours before dawn.

The extreme weather prompted President Donald Trump to issue a warning about the coming chilling temperatures.

Dr Masters said "past record-cold waves have not dissipated this quickly" and that the region seems headed for "spring-like temperatures".

The cold weather was even affecting beer deliveries, with a pair of western Wisconsin distributors saying they would delay or suspend shipments for fear that beer would freeze in their trucks.

In a rare move, the US Postal Service appeared to set aside its credo that "neither snow nor rain. nor gloom of night" would stop its work as it halted deliveries from parts of the Dakotas through Ohio.

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The Midwest was the hardest-hit by the sub-zero temperatures, which the authorities say could be life-threatening.

In fact, they're setting train tracks in Chicago on fire to keep them functional.

Even parts of the South, such as the mountains of Kentucky, Tennessee and upper Georgia, will be in the single digits, the weather service said.

Before the worst of the cold begins to lift, the National Weather Service says Chicago could hit lows early Thursday that break the city's record of minus 27 set on January 20, 1985.

In Detroit, General Motors Co suspended operations at 11 MI plants and its Warren Tech Center after a utility made an emergency appeal to users to conserve natural gas after extreme cold and a fire at a compressor station.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also cancelled a shift yesterday at two of its plants.

It has been more than 20 years since a similar arctic blast covered a swath of the Midwest and Northeast, NWS forecaster Brian Hurley said.

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Temperature breaks record in northern IL