Much of the United States this week will be gripped by frigid temperatures and life-threatening wind chills, with some areas of the Midwest dealing with colder weather than they’ve seen in decades. If you’ve been following the news at all, you probably already know what’s to blame: the dreaded “polar vortex,” which describes a large area of low pressure and cold air that surrounds both poles of the earth. You can read more about the phenomenon here and here.
In Chicago today, wind chills are expected to hit -15 to -30, with air temperatures topping off at 3 degrees, according to ABC7. And that’s just the beginning. Tomorrow’s wind chill could make it feel as cold 50 degrees below, and could be the second coldest day in Chicago history.
In Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers has declared an emergency and requested help from the National Guard, according to the New York Times; in northern Indiana, the University of Notre Dame said it would close its campus this evening through Thursday afternoon.
In the Northeast, frigid air is expected to sweep through tonight, bringing the coldest temperatures of 2019 so far, according to AccuWeather.
Elsewhere: Per USA Today, almost two-thirds of the Eastern U.S. will see freezing temperatures this week, accounting for nearly 200 million people. The cold blast will be felt as far south as Florida.
So where will the bone-chilling weather hit and how long it will last? I’ve rounded up a number of resources that let you stay on top the winter weather:
- AccuWeather Winter Weather Tracker
- NOAA: Winter Weather Forecasts
- CNN Storm Tracker
- The Weather Channel: Severe Weather Maps
I’ve also embedded some of the latest polar vortex maps below. Stay warm!
— Capital Weather Gang (@capitalweather) January 27, 2019
Wonderful way to visualize the polar vortex …
The features arrive from the Canadian Arctic — and sometimes they make it into the Lower 48
e.g. GFS (tropopause temperatures) pic.twitter.com/oEvyFdpLdw
— Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) January 25, 2019
School in Minnesota on Wednesday? I think not!
Temperatures of -30˚F and wind chills of -50˚F? Downright dangerous.
— Ben Noll (@BenNollWeather) January 26, 2019
Numerous record lows are likely to fall as the Polar Vortex moves into the Midwest next week pic.twitter.com/xb2Nh4drS9
— WeatherBELL (@weatherbell) January 25, 2019