The deadly polar vortex that paralyzed the U.S. Midwest has killed at least 13 people and left tens of millions of Americans shivering for a second day as temperatures plunged to record-breaking lows and the cold snap moved over towards the East Coast.
The painfully cold weather system that put much of the Midwest into a historic deep freeze lingered on Thursday and continued to break historic records with parts of Illinois and Iowa recording temperatures of -38F and -30F respectively. The frigid conditions canceled more than 2,300 flights and over 1,500 delays on Thursday, while the number of deaths blamed on the cold climbed to 13.
Chicago’s temperature dropped to a low of around -21F on Thursday, slightly above the city’s lowest-ever reading of -27F in January 1985. Milwaukee’s low was -25F. Minneapolis recorded -24F, and wind chills were as low as -38F, an improvement from a day earlier. Rockford, Illinois, saw a record low temperature of -31F on Thursday, while Cedar Rapids, Iowa, set a daily record low of -30F. The extreme cold also settled in over the Northeast on Thursday. In western New York, a storm that dumped up to 20 inches of snow gave way to subzero temperatures and dangerous wind chills.