Cold U.S. Temperatures Expected to Break Records as ‘Polar Vortex’ Blasts Midwest

Cold temperatures that hit the U.S. may become even life threatening, meteorologists say.

The weather warnings continue to threaten: incredibly strong wind chills, historic cold outbreak, bitter cold temperatures. Photo: Ryan Janek Wolowski/Flickr

Winter season is usually a cold one, but starting from this weekend tundra-like temperatures are said to deliver a rare and quite dangerous sledgehammer blow to much of the Midwest, driving temperatures so far below zero that records will shatter.

This is called a “polar vortex” by meteorologists. The “polar vortex” which will send cold wind to the North Pole down to the U.S., funneling it as far south as the Gulf Coast.

Meteorologists predict that the temperature will be incredibly high: 25 below zero in Fargo, N.D., minus 31 in International Falls, Minn., and 15 below in Indianapolis and Chicago.

According to specialists, with such temperatures, “exposed skin can get frostbitten in minutes and hypothermia can quickly set in because wind chills could hit 50, 60 or even 70 below zero,” The Huffington Post reports.

Temperature records are expected to be broken by the weekend, with powerful deep freeze beginning in many regions of the country on Sunday and extend into early next week.

This is the result of the jet stream, cold surface temperatures and the polar vortex — a counterclockwise-rotating pool of cold, explained to reporters Ryan Maue, of Tallahassee, Fla., a meteorologist for Weather Bell.

“All the ingredients are there for a near-record or historic cold outbreak,” he said. “If you’re under 40 (years old), you’ve not seen this stuff before.”

According to predictions of meteorlogists, the cold weather will reach New England, where residents will be forced to dug out from a snowstorm and the frigid temperatures.

Parts of the central Midwest are also expected to suffer from the cold winds and heavy snowfalls as the cold sweeps in pulling temperatures to 10 below zero in the St. Louis area.

Which is more, regions that are accustomed to mild winters will see a plunge in temperatures early next week, including Atlanta where the high is expected to hover in the mid-20s on Tuesday.

“This one happens to be really big and it’s going to dive deep into the continental U.S. And all that cold air is going to come with it,” said Sally Johnson, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service in Sioux Falls.

It’s relatively unusual to have such frigid air blanket covering such large territories of the country. This is usually observed once a decade or every couple of decades, Maue said.

However,”in the long-run the deep temperature dives are less meaningful for comparison to other storms than daytime highs that are below-zero and long cold spells”, he said. And so far, this winter will definitely become one the coldest.

“Right now for the winter we will have had two significant shots of major Arctic air and we’re only through the first week of January. And we had a pretty cold December,” Maue said.

Despite the fact that the terrible cold will cover the U.S. just for a couple of days before the warm one comes, it likely to reach and freeze over the Great Lakes and other water-full places, meaning frigid temperatures will likely last the rest of winter, Maue said.

“It raises the chances for future cold,” he said, adding it could include next month’s Super Bowl in New York.

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