Devastating Cold From “Polar Vortex” Continues To Affect More Than 180 Million

Button up, everyone.

1. The polar vortex continued to freeze a large part of the country on Tuesday with temperatures in the single digits and teens, affecting at least 187 million people, according to forecasters.

The Weather Channel

3. “For people stepping outside their front door in any of these cities this morning it will be a real shock,” Kevin Roth, The Weather Channel’s head meteorologist told NBC News. “It is going to be cold enough to take your breath away.”

David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch / MCT

Bob Brown, a building engineer for the Frisco Building in downtown St. Louis, shovels out the entrance to Pulaski Bank on Jan. 6.

5. Georgia was colder than many cities in Alaska this morning, according to the AP. The cold in Virginia broke more than 60-year-old records.

Larry Downing / Reuters

Women bundle up against the cold one block from the White House as temperatures plunged along the East coast due to the “polar vortex” on Jan. 7.

7. It was so cold, in fact, an escaped prisoner in Lexington, Kentucky decided to turn himself in. The 42-year-old man went to a motel and told the clerk to call the police when the temperatures dipped into the single digits.

Robert Vick, the escaped convict who would rather return to jail than face the polar vortex.

8. And it was so cold in Chicago on Monday that the city’s Lincoln Park Zoo kept their polar bear, Anana, indoors. Though that’s mostly because Anana doesn’t have the thick layer of fat common in polar bears after eating seals and whale carcasses.

Anana on a warmer day.

10. Though the toll on lives is unclear, in Illinois, where the temperatures dropped well below zero, at least six people died from the snow and bitter cold. Four were estimated dead in Indianapolis, and a 1-year-old boy died in a car crash in Missouri.

Ice builds up along Lake Michigan as temperatures dipped to -30 Celcius in Chicago, USA #polarvortex #ChiBeria

— Fascinatingpics (@Fascinating Pictures)

Fascinating Pictures


Ice builds up along Lake Michigan as temperatures dipped to -30 Celcius in Chicago, USA #polarvortex #ChiBeria

/ Via

PHOTO: Mist rose from Lake Michigan as temperatures dipped below zero in Chicago on Monday.

— BostonGlobe (@The Boston Globe)

The Boston Globe


PHOTO: Mist rose from Lake Michigan as temperatures dipped below zero in Chicago on Monday.

/ Via

13. Parts of Minnesota dropped to temperatures as low as 25 below zero, while the weather also affected parts of the country that don’t often experience deep cold, with single-digit temperatures recorded in Georgia and Alabama.

Proof it's cold in Atlanta: a frozen fountain [courtesy: Mario Page] #GAwx

— WCL_Shawn (@Shawn Reynolds)

Shawn Reynolds


Proof it’s cold in Atlanta: a frozen fountain [courtesy: Mario Page] #GAwx

/ Via

15. In Indiana, at least 15,000 people lost power this morning. A 118-year-old record was broken in New York’s Central Park, where it was 5 degrees. The city’s Office of Emergency Management warned of “life-threatening wind chill.”

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Ice forms on the shore of the East River due to unusually low temperatures in New York on Jan. 7.

17. reports more than 10,000 flights were canceled between Saturday and Monday. To let their crews rest, JetBlue canceled nearly all operations in New York, Newark and Boston into this morning.

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

A JetBlue Airways departure board is pictured inside their terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on Jan. 6.

Snow also stranded more than 500 Amtrak customers overnight who were trying to get to Chicago, where 65% of flights out of the city’s airport had been canceled.

Cleveland also had 51% of the scheduled departures canceled, 66% were canceled in Indianapolis, and 21% from Boston were nixed.

Check out more articles on!

Rachel Zarrell is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Rachel Zarrell at
More News
More News
Now Buzzing