A brutal cold spell continues to hold large parts of the US in the grip. At least ten people lost their lives until Thursday, according to the US media, as a result of the Arctic temperatures. Public life remained largely paralyzed in the Midwest. Also, massive disruptions to train and air traffic as well as electricity and water supply continued.
Among the reported cold deaths was an 18-year-old student in the state of Iowa. He was found Wednesday at a university campus in Iowa City. The US National Weather Service warned residents of the affected areas that the icy wind could cause frostbite on unprotected skin within five minutes. “There is cold and there is cold,” said the authority. “An extreme and dangerous COOL.” “The temperatures are lethal and we have to act accordingly,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
Great danger for the homeless
In the country’s third-largest city, Wednesday’s temperature had dropped to the second-lowest ever reading – down 31 degrees. Due to the wind, the temperature was sometimes even minus 46 degrees. For the approximately 16,000 homeless people in the state of Illinois, known as the “Windy City”, the authorities set up more than 270 warmth rooms. In addition to official buildings and libraries and police stations were used.
“It almost feels like dry ice,” said 31-year-old Leon Gilbert, who despite the cold, had to appear to work in a Chicago downtown caf. “I feel my skin contract.” However, many stores, businesses, government agencies and schools were closed on Thursday. Also continued to fall numerous flights – in Chicago alone until Thursday morning (local time) more than 1600.
Railways did not run at times
However, the railway company Amtrak started operating in Chicago slowly after it had stopped its traffic on Wednesday in the city. In the states of Michigan and Minnesota, bottlenecks in the supply of natural gas threatened because of the running at full speed heaters. The situation was aggravated by a fire in a gas plant in Michigan. Local authorities urged consumers to turn down their heating regulators.
The Arctic cold wave also caused strange phenomena. Steam rose over the huge lake of Michigan as cold air masses moved over the warmer seawater. Parts of the mighty Niagara Falls were frozen.
After all, relief was in sight from Friday. The National Meteorological Service predicted that temperatures in the Midwest would then rise slowly. The cause of the extreme cold spell was Arctic air, which had separated from the so-called polar vortex, which normally revolved around the North Pole. According to a scientific thesis, global warming could be responsible for this spin-off.
However, US President Donald Trump, who does not believe in climate change, had once again questioned climate change because of the cold spell. “What the hell is going on with global warming? Please come back quickly, we need you, “he mocked Tuesday in the short message service Twitter. The National Marine and Atmospheric Authority (NOAA) noted that winter storms are “no proof that there is no global warming”. (Afp)