Written by Reuters
31 Jan, 2019 | 3:24 pm
Reuters- A blast of icy polar air brought dangerously low temperatures to the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday (January 30), causing at least three deaths.
The freeze brought mail delivery to a standstill and forced residents who pride themselves on their winter hardiness to huddle indoors.
At least a dozen deaths related to extreme cold weather have been reported since Saturday (January 26) in Michigan, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, according to officials and media reports.
In Chicago and the Pennsylvanian city of Erie, people were seen braving the painfully cold weather in heavy winter clothing, as temperatures hovered around minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit (-28 Celsius).
Later on Wednesday, bitter winds moved towards the U.S.’ East Coast, causing temperatures to plummet.
In Batavia, New York, 21 vehicles, including a state police vehicle, were involved in a major crash, according to local media reports.
The bitter cold is being carried by the polar vortex, a stream of air that spins around the stratosphere over the North Pole, but whose current has been disrupted and is now pushing south.
Officials opened warming centers across the Midwest, and in Chicago police stations were open to anyone seeking refuge. Five city buses were also deployed to serve as mobile warming centers for homeless people, while city police handed out hats, jackets and blankets.
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