Schools have been closed, 3,700 flights cancelled, and over 16 individuals have been reported dead as one of the coldest storms in recent memory blanketed Canada and North America.
Beginning just after New Year’s Day, America’s Midwest and Northeast states and much of Canada was swathed with cold temperatures as a large-scale snow storm swept across the continent.
In the lowest figures recorded in the last 20 years, Canada’s Toronto and Quebec City temperatures dropped to around -29 degrees Celsius and -38 degrees Celsius respectively.
The devastation included a transformer fire on Newfoundland which has left thousands of residents without power.
Now, forecasters are predicting a potentially record-breaking series of temperatures could be witnessed until Tuesday due to a new front of Arctic air.
They have stated that wind chill may make temperatures feel as low as -51 degrees Celsius.
At these levels, individuals could suffer from frost bite on uncovered skin within minutes.
The plunging temperatures are the result of a polar vortex.
Polar vortexes are anti-clockwise moving pools of cold air which are a persistent feature of the earth’s weather make-up.
Yet the vortex currently sweeping across America is bringing some of the lowest temperatures of recent years into the country; blanketing much of Canada and Northeast America in up to half a metre of snow.
What’s more, it is predicted to bring even colder – perhaps record-breaking – temperatures to much of the continent.
Authorities have issued official warnings for citizens to remain indoors, and schools across Chicago, Illinois, as well as in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana will be closed today at least (6th of January 2014).
“The coldest weather in years will be making its [way] from the Upper Mid-West to the Mid-Atlantic region for the beginning of the work week,” stated the US National Weather Service.
Illinois, Ohio and South Dakota are expected to be hit; with the slightly more Southern states of Kentucky and Tennessee to also witness several inches of snow.
From there, the vortex is expected to makes its way to the Northeastern states; many of which are still dealing with the damage and destruction caused by the last storm.
The Associated Press reports that 16 deaths have been attributed to the New Year’s storms.
In Ohio, which has experienced some of its coldest temperatures in years, two individuals were killed in storm-related crashes. A man was found on a pavement in Wisconsin after having died of hypothermia, and an Alzheimer’s sufferer in New York froze to death after leaving her home.
In Indiana, where residents have been advised to stock up on essentials before the next cold front, two deaths have been related to the storm.
Around 1,200 flights were cancelled across America on Saturday, and JFK Airport shut down operations for two hours after a plane skidded on ice.
Additionally, heavy snow has affected other US states such as Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Boston has been reported as the worst-hit American state with almost half a metre of recorded snow.