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Updated January 15th, 2024 at 23:35 IST

What Is Arctic Blast? Life-threatening Climate Phenomenon Causing Below-zero Temperatures In The US

All you need to know about Arctic Blast, the life-threatening climate phenomenon which is causing below-zero temperatures in the United States.

a representational image of arctic blast
a representational image of arctic blast | Image:X/AdrianBrockless
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An Arctic blast which is characterised by a sudden and intense surge of cold air from the North Pole is creaking havoc across parts of the US, particularly impacting the Midwest and Northeast regions. This chilling phenomenon is often linked to disruptions in the polar vortex, an expansive area of low pressure and frigid air encircling the Arctic.

The arctic blast has broken all records in the US

The ongoing Arctic blast has set new records for cold temperatures affecting millions of people across multiple states. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued wind chill warnings and advisories surrounding over 110 million individuals with temperatures dropping to near-record lows. Wind chills below negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit have been reported from the Northern Rockies to northern Kansas and extending into Iowa.

a representational image of arctic blast | Image: X/TheHeraldDiary

Some areas like Montana and the western Dakotas witnessed astonishing wind chills as low as negative 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Arctic blast continues to cause snowfall, power outages and travel hindrance

In addition to bone-chilling temperatures, the Arctic blast has caused heavy snowfall and powerful winds causing widespread disruptions. More than 2,000 flights were cancelled, primarily in Chicago, where at least 7 inches of snow accumulated. Nearly 200,000 people experienced power outages with Michigan and Wisconsin bearing the brunt. Tragically, Oregon reported four deaths due to falling trees and power lines.

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a representational image of arctic blast | Image: X/NorthEdNews_NEN

What are the precautions to avoid arctic blasts?

The Arctic blast is predicted to persist into the coming week, bringing more snow, ice, and freezing rain to the South, Great Lakes, and Northeast. The NWS advises residents to limit outdoor exposure, dress in layers, and be vigilant for signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Labelling the situation as "life-threatening winter weather," the NWS requested everyone to be prepared amidst the cold wave.

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Published January 15th, 2024 at 23:35 IST

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