During the final days of the month, the Midwest is expected to experience the coldest weather in years. Millions of people and animals will be at risk for hypothermia and frostbite.
The conditions are expected to be “life-threatening.” Temperatures have dropped below zero in some areas.
On Sunday morning, the Upper Midwest experienced temperatures that plummeted below zero. International Falls, Minnesota had a low reading of 45 below zero F which beat the day’s record of 36 below zero F from 1966.
However, the worst is yet to come with the polar vortex getting displaced from the Arctic Circle. It will dive into the Midwest with disruptive snowstorm early this week.
People are advised to warn their loved ones of the risks of frostbite and hypothermia for residents. Other factors that need to be taken into account are high heating costs and the potential for frozen and bursting water pipes, dead car batteries, and school closures.
The weather will be cold enough to be “life-threatening” to those who aren’t prepared. The worst conditions are anticipated during the middle of the week.
AccuWeather’s Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll said, "Some locations in the Midwest will be below zero continuously for 48-72 hours." The worst affected areas will be North Dakota all the way to northern Illinois.
The low temperatures there could cause frostbite in mere minutes. Tuesday night will have widespread lows which will be under 30 below zero in North Dakota, eastern South Dakota, and Minnesota.
Chicago could face a drop of 25 below zero for the first time since the mid-1980s. Wednesday won’t be any better with highs stopping short of rising above 10 below zero in Fargo, North Dakota, Minneapolis, and Chicago.
Kansas City, Missouri, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Pittsburgh will face highs in the single digits. In some areas, Wednesday will be colder than Tuesday.
“I cannot stress how dangerously cold it will be. An entire generation has gone by without experiencing this type of cold in the Chicago area."
A number of states have taken necessary precautions against the cold weather. Wisconsin’s governor Tony Evers declared a state of emergency which will run through to Friday.
Residents are advised to cover all exposed skin to avoid frostbite and hypothermia. Any homeless people are encouraged to stay in shelters.
Residents were advised to acquire decent amounts of propane, wood pellets, and/or firewood to last during this cold outbreak. Losing heat could be life-threatening.
Motorists were told to travel with a winter survival kit in case their vehicle breaks down and they are forced to wait for assistance.
Weather.gov described a polar vortex as “a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles.” It exists near the poles, but is weaker in summer and stronger in winter.