One of the coldest air masses in years will occupy the Midwest and Northeast this week, potentially bringing life-threatening low temperatures to the Chicago area, which will feel rougher along with strong winds.
The coldest in Chicago The temperatures of the year will arrive in the week. The O & # 39; Hare International Airport reached a high of 34 on Monday, and temperatures will drop to near zero by the end of the day, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to drop again by Tuesday evening and fall to 19 below zero.
Temperatures are expected to hit a daily low of around minus 12 on Wednesday – the first high temperature sub-zero for five years and the coldest winter high ever hit Chicago ̵
For younger Chicagoers, the eruption of Arctic air that was supposed to occupy the city this week was one of the coldest days of their lives. The low temperatures forecast for this week have only two competitors in recent decades: minus 16 on January 6, 2014 and minus 19 on February 3, 1996.
The lows on Tuesday and Wednesday could break records from 1966 with gusts of wind up to 30 km / h I also feel much worse, so it feels, according to the weather service at minus 50 degrees. However, there could be up to 30 degrees of inequality from north to north south end of the state, while sea areas could get a small respite, said Brian Kerschner, a spokesman for the Illinois State Climatologist Office. However, this largely depends on the ice cover of Lake Michigan.
The winter attack is driven by the polar vortex of the northern hemisphere, the cold air on the North Pole. As temperatures rise in the Arctic, the polar jet stream – the torrent of the western winds that holds the polar vortex in place – can weaken and dip into parts of North America.
"Occasionally, this winding ring deforms or even splits, leaving cold air to leak south of mid-latitude – that's what's happening now," said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, in an E -Mail: "It's just that the rag of cold air is localized over central North America, with Chicago in the crosshairs. "
A destabilized polar vortex typically splits across Canada and Russia and has the potential to move further south. As the cold front plummeted north of Minnesota on Sunday morning, the border town of International Falls dropped to a record low of minus 44 degrees, breaking the previous record by 8 degrees.
"What this means is allowing Canada's coldest Arctic air to move across the Great Lakes region and bring an active track, longer periods of well below average temperatures and minus temperatures in Illinois and the Midwest," said Brian Kerschner, a spokesman for the Illinois State Climatologist Office.
These are the same weather phenomena that made the winters of 2013-14 and 2014-15 remarkably cold, and scientists say such winters could become more common in the future due to climate change.
Arctic warms twice as fast compared to the rest of the world, partly because there is less ice, Francis said, instead of the ice reflecting the sunlight, the water absorbs that heat.
An increasing body of evidence suggests that another warming trend in the Pacific Ocean causes the jet stream, which restricts the polar vortex, to continue along Warm air winds around near the Pacific Northwest, and a rag of cold air sinks into the Midwest and Northeast.
"The stronger burr does two things: it pumps cold air into the center of North America, making the downstream trough deeper, more persistent, because larger jet-stream waves move slower than small ones," Francis said, "This is partly the reason why this jet-stream pattern is usually long lasting after its establishment. "
Winter 2013/14, which was rated the third coldest of all times, had 23 days with lows below zero, with an average temperature of 18 , 8 degrees It was this winter, when the term polar vortex came up and the weather service of the local weather service Ricky Castro coined the term "Chiberia".
The coldest day was January 6, 2014, when the lows reached minus 16 a high of 16 was negative 42.
This week's wind temperatures could lead to frostbite in less than 30 minutes, the National Weather Service said.
Six community service centers throughout Chicago also serve as thermal centers, including the Garfield Community Service Center at 10 S. Kedzie Ave., which is open 24/7. If necessary, some other urban facilities, including libraries and police stations, could also step in.
Persons in need of emergency accommodation should also call 311.
As in the past, transports of all kinds during transport could pose a challenge to this cold snap, according to weather service. At these temperatures, car batteries can die and the tires can empty. It is well known that railroad tracks cause metal to contract and broken rails to break.
Despite record cold temperatures, this winter in Chicago is still expected to be the coldest time of the year.
We are not moving in this direction because in December and early January we were 9 to 15 degrees above average in the first three weeks of the winter season, "said Kerschner. "This week we are going the exact opposite way. So far, they have an average.
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