Much of the United States is facing freezing and even subzero temperatures this week as a pre-polar vortex snowstorm hits Minneapolis, Chicago and Detroit.
Chicago is in the midst of one of its most bitter winters on record, as a polar vortex from the north brings deadly cold temperatures of -28C and unrelenting snow. A number of states have been forced to call in a national emergency due to the conditions and US weather authorities have advised people to avoid driving where possible.
Officials warned of almost instant frostbite as temperatures in the region plunged below zero Wednesday. Some state offices are closed and postal workers won’t deliver mail in 10 states. Thousands of flights have been canceled along with dozens of train services – most of them in and out of Chicago.
Snow levels in some of the worst affected states are now topping one metre, as Washington is currently buried under 118cm in some places. Averages for the rest of the country are in the range of one to ten inches of snow.
The National Weather Centre (NWC) tweeted: “A Winter Storm continues to push eastward, with all reports of 6″+ overlaid on radar imagery.