Five Facts About the Polar Vortex

Updated on February 2, 2019
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College graduate, freelance writer, cooking aficionado. Political junkie by day and screenwriter by night.

5. Midwest Had Colder Temperatures than Antarctica and Alaska

Last Wednesday, the high in Des Moines was -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Wednesday's high in Antarctica was 17 degrees, according to weather.com. Fairbanks, Alaska was also warmer than Des Moines, recording a high of 4 degrees.

4. Over 50 Million People will be Affected

A large portion of the Midwest from the Dakotas to the Western part of Pennsylvania are under wind chill advisories from the National Weather Service. It's expected to remain in place for a good amount of time.

3. Frostbite Sets In Five Minutes

With cities like Minneapolis recording wind chills as low as -45 to -65 degrees, the National Weather Service is alerting people that exposed skin could get frostbite within as little as five minutes.

2. Chicago Last Faced These Temperatures 30 Years Ago

Chicago ended up with a low of -26 degrees last Wednesday. According to the National Weather Service, the last time Chicago was that cold was on January 20, 1985, when Chicago reached a record low of -27 degrees. When you add the wind chill, the temperature will feel like -55 degrees.


1. Flights are Being Cancelled

The polar vortex is forcing almost 2,000 flights to be canceled across the country, including 1,400 that were bound for Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports. Flightaware reports that last Tuesday, over 1,800 flights were canceled, including 500 destined for or taking off from Chicago. It's best just to hunker down and keep in contact with your airline to determine whether you will be able to make it the cities affected.

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© 2019 Lawrence

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