US freezes at -37 Celsius

US freezes at -37 Celsius

Dangerously cold polar air snapped decades-old records as it spread on Tuesday from the Midwest to southern and eastern parts of the US and eastern Canada, making it hazardous to venture outside and keeping many schools and businesses shuttered.

The lowest temperature recorded was minus 35 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 37 degrees Celsius)  in Minnesota.

Monday’s bitterly cold temperatures broke records in Chicago, which set a record for the date at minus 27 degrees Celsius, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the mercury fell to 25 degrees below zero. Records also fell in Oklahoma and Texas, and wind chills across the region were minus 40 degrees Celsius and colder.

The polar air was expected to next invade the East and South on Tuesday, bringing with it the prospect of more records falling. Forecasters said some 187 million people in all could feel the effects of the “polar vortex” by the time it spreads across the US.

Tennessee utility officials braced for near-record power demand, while Ohio prepared for its coldest temperatures in decades. PJM Interconnection, which operates the power grid supplying energy to more than 61 million people in parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and South, asked users to conserve electricity on Tuesday because of the cold, especially in the morning and late afternoon.

New York's Central Park hit a record low temperature for the date — 4 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 16 degrees Celsius) — but with winds gusting to 51 kph, conditions felt far colder, said the National Weather Service.

Authorities have put about half of the United States under a wind chill warning or cold weather advisory, the icy conditions snarling air, road and rail travel. Temperatures were expected to be 25-35 degrees Fahrenheit (14-19 degrees Celsius) below normal from the Midwest to the Southeast, said the National Weather Service.

Six deaths have been reported across the country since a polar air mass swept over North America over the weekend, producing the coldest temperatures in two decades.

Washington, DC, officials opened libraries, recreation centres and other public spaces for people to warm themselves from temperatures that fell to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 14 degrees Celsius).
In the normally mild south, Atlanta recorded its coldest weather on this date in 44 years, when the temperature dropped to 6 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 14 degrees Celsius), while temperatures in northern Florida also briefly dropped below freezing.

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