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article imageParts of Canada and US experience tragic low temperatures

By Robin Okuthe     Jan 6, 2014 in World
Chicago - Several parts of the United States are experiencing historic low temperatures that have since claimed 16 lives and forced the cancellation of some 3,700 flights over the weekend.
Areas of Canada and northeastern US have been fatally affected. Various schools in Chicago are also closing even as officials have asked residents to stay indoors and stay away from roads for easier removal of snow.
Meanwhile, an airplane from Toronto slipped into snow after it landed at New York’s airport on Sunday. All flights at the airport were suspended for two hours as a result of icy runways. Nobody was hurt in the incident.
Thousands of others in Canada on the island of Newfoundland experienced power outages due to a transformer fire that has since been linked to heavy snow.
In a statement, the US National weather service said: “The coldest weather in years will be making its presence known from the Upper Midwest to the mid-Atlantic region for the beginning of the work week.”
Bob Oravec, whose a forecaster with the National Weather Service said: “The last really big Arctic outbreak was 1994, Outbreaks like this do not occur every day.”
Among those states that are set to be hit include Illinois, Ohio and South Dakota. Kentucky and Tennessee will experience numerous inches of snow.
US states like New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut have also been affected by heavy snow. The worst hit state was Boston having nearly 18 inches of snow.
Various schools have been closed for Monday across the states of Minnesota, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. A state of emergency was declared in Lake County, Indiana permitting only law enforcement or emergency vehicles on the roads. State offices were to remain closed in the neighboring Indiana.
A woman in New York reported to have been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease froze to death after she strolled away from her rural home. On Saturday, 1,200 flights were cancelled across US and 2500 cancelled nationwide.
The low temperatures have been caused by a polar vortex resulting from an anti-clockwise pool of cold, dense air. The vortex has been stronger with cold air trapped in the Arctic for quite a long time. Having stuck in one place, the air becomes colder and colder. Once the cold air is released, it travels over long distances since it is dense, explaining why it is penetrating southwards.
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