Sub-zero cold due to the polar vortex has brought life in many American cities to a halt forcing residents to stay inside their homes and stay safe from the deep freeze

On January 31, 2019, at 12 pm it was -27 degrees centigrade in Chicago, Illinois which is one of the largest cities in the USA.

The Chicago River which is a system of rivers and canals that runs through the city of Chicago froze. Fire was being used to melt ice on Chicago train tracks.

Once you see the videos of Chicago’s frozen river from above and fire being used to melt ice on Chicago’s train tracks, you will understand the intensity of the cold.

However this, in turn, brought the attention of the world media on the state of extreme weather conditions prevailing in many cities in Midwest states of the United States America.

Chicago has become as cold as the Arctic. It was this cold in the city 30 years ago. In addition, many US states have declared emergencies. Some are calling such alarming conditions as a deadly ‘cold snap’ and others have termed it the ‘deep freeze’. Temperature has dropped as low as -30 degrees in Illinois city.

Metra trains go in and out of the Western Avenue Station in subzero temperatures in Chicago on tracks heated with gas-fired switch heaters.
Photo: Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images.


The bitter cold is being carried by the polar vortex. It is a stream of air that spins around the stratosphere over the North Pole. However this current has been disrupted and is now pushing south.

About 250 million Americans have experienced the polar vortex conditions. Southern states like Florida have escaped the icy chill and deep freeze.


The US National Weather Service has sent out a warning that the low temperature could easily “freeze the flesh off your bones”. People have been strictly told not to leave home, if they can avoid it. 

Weather directives have been conveyed to people that if they do have to go out then they should “avoid taking deep breaths; minimise talking”.

At the peak of this week’s extreme weather, about 224 million people across USA have experienced deep freeze. 

Ice Covers the Chicago River
Credits: AP Photo/Teresa Crawford


This colder-than-Antarctica Deep Freeze has caused at least eight deaths in the US Midwest. 

Critical public welfare related infrastructure systems are facing problems:

  • Two dozen water mainlines have frozen in Detroit, Michigan
  • Energy companies across the Midwest have urged their customers to reduce the heat in their homes
  • Airlines had to cancel more than 2,000 flights scheduled for January 31 in the United States
  • About 30 people statewide had been to emergency rooms for frostbite or hypothermia-related visits
  • Governor of Michigan had to go on TV and tell the residents of the state to reduce their thermostats to 65 degrees or less so that more people could be served with proper electricity

Learn more: Extreme weather also impacts crime rate

One can only pray that the polar vortex shifts quickly and takes away the deep freeze and deadly chill. This will give much relief to all the affected people in the American cities.

Do comment below if you have loved ones in America and hope they are well and safe

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