Polar Vortex Holds 187 Million People In Its Icy Grip

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The so-called Polar Vortex is now moving south and east after pulling down temperatures to record lows in many regions. Some 32 states have issued wind chill warnings and advisories today including Montana and Florida. The polar vortex has forced several airlines to delay and cancel flights, while many schools and businesses remain closed.

Polar vortex smashes temperature records in many states

On Tuesday morning, temperatures fell below 8 degrees in Atlanta and -6 degrees in the north Georgia mountains. Temperatures in West Virginia fell to a 25-year low. Washington D.C. temperatures touched the daily record low set about 130 years ago on Tuesday morning. Temperatures in New York City’s Central Park fell to 4 degrees Tuesday morning, breaking the 118-year-old record which had stood since 1896.

Temperatures in Chicago fell to -16 degrees on Monday, as authorities reported four deaths in the area while shoveling snow. Records were also broken in Texas and Oklahoma, while chilling winds and more than a foot of snow forced residents in Indiana to stay home. Temperatures in central Florida are expected to fall below freezing on Tuesday night.

Thousands of flights cancelled due to polar vortex

The polar vortex has forced delays and cancellations of thousands of flights. According to FlightAware.com, more than 3,200 flights were delayed and upwards of 2,300 were cancelled on Tuesday morning across the nation. That has left travelers stranded at airports in the harsh cold winter. On Monday, a total of 14,000 flights were delayed and another 4,500 were cancelled due to the polar vortex.

Many Midwestern states expect recovery later Tuesday after freezing temperatures and inches of snow made traveling almost impossible. PJM Interconnection, which supplies energy to more than 61 million homes in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and South, urged customers to conserve energy Tuesday. More than 30,000 users in Indiana spent Monday night without power. Wind chill warnings are set to expire late Tuesday in the Midwest, so temperatures may rise gradually through the end of this week.

The polar vortex is a swirling mass of dense, frigid air originating in the Arctic.

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