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University of Iowa student found dead amid cold

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Theresa Hayes | 31 January, 2019, 13:23

Temperatures have dropped so low that in Chicago, where it has plummeted to -26°C, people have been told not to speak or take deep breaths.

With wind chill, the temperature at the time police found Belz was negative 51 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The current of this low pressure area has been disrupted and is now pushing south. That would break the IL record of minus 36 (minus 38 Celsius), set in Congerville on January 5, 1999.

A young man waits on a subway platform in freezing temperatures on January 30, 2019 in NY. "And because it's so cold, there won't be much of a warm-up Wednesday". Multiple airlines, including United and Southwest, have canceled flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport.

Ice covers the Chicago River Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago as a deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures. Minneapolis recorded minus 27 (minus 32 Celsius). It was -29C in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Wind chill warnings were in effect for much of the Midwest. The hardiest commuters ventured out only after covering almost every square inch of flesh against the extreme chill, which froze ice crystals on eyelashes and eyebrows in minutes.

"There´s cold, and then there´s COLD!" the National Weather Service (NWS) said. The Arctic winds caused temperatures to plummet to life-threatening temperatures across the U.S. midwest yesterday. In fact, Chicago was colder than the Canadian village of Alert, one of the world's most northerly inhabited places.

Jennifer Francis, senior scientist and Arctic expert at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass, said that while the latest move in the polar vortex "may unleash claims that global warming is a hoax", the mass of frigid air over North America is far outweighed by areas elsewhere that are warmer than usual. The Windy City will be cold Wednesday - but not that level of cold.

At least eight deaths were linked to the system, including an elderly IL man who was found several hours after he fell trying to get into his home and a University of Iowa student found behind an academic hall several hours before dawn. Several families who meant to leave for Pennsylvania stood in ticket lines at Chicago's Union Station only to be told all trains were cancelled until Friday.

Rothschild, the president of a liquor retailer, said he planned on keeping his stores open on Wednesday, figuring customers who were not working might want to pick up something to keep them feeling warm at home.

Ten diesel-train lines in the Metra commuter network kept running, unlike the electric lines, but crews had to heat vital switches with gas flames and watched for rails that were cracked or broken. The city is even setting its railroad tracks on fire so that trains can run on them.

A track in the Minneapolis light-rail system also cracked, forcing trains to share the remaining track for a few hours.

Many normal activities shut down and residents huddled inside as the National Weather Service forecast plunging temperatures from one of the coldest air masses in years.

On a typical winter day, the city has five to nine breaks, with each taking about three days to fix.

When the forces penning the polar vortex in the Arctic are weak, it wanders, more often to Siberia than MI, and it is happening more frequently in the last couple of decades, said Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado.

Temperatures in Chicago, meanwhile, hit to about 22 degrees below zero in the morning, said weather forecasters.

The same freeze-thaw cycle beats up concreate and asphalt roads and bridges, resulting in teeth-jarring potholes.

USA media have attributed at least five deaths since the weekend to the freezing conditions and a major snowstorm that preceded the blast of Arctic air now gripping the region.