Death toll rises to 21 as US cold snap continues --
The US Midwest continues to bear witness to one of its worst cold snaps in recent history, and it appears that as the freezing temperatures continue – referred to in the press as the ‘Polar Vortex’ – a number of tragedies have arisen. While the average temperatures across the Midwest are thought to be rising soon, there have already been a number of lives lost as a result of the intensive drops in temperature and severe weather conditions.
Frostbite is continuing to ravage hospital demands across the States as it’s been recorded that as many as 21 people are thought to have died during the intense snap. Up to 90 million people are thought to have witness the polar vortex thus far, with temperatures of 0F (-17C) and lower having been commonplace. It’s been a record-breaking winter thus far, according to the Washington Post.
It’s thought that some of those who have died include homeless people and those inadequately dressed for the weather. Both young and old have been affected – as even an 18-year old passed away in hospital following a walk in temperatures of -51F (-46C) in wind chill. On top of this, road dangers and hazardous snowpiles have also proven to be fatal for some US citizens.
Chicago in particular is thought to be witnessing a much-needed rise in temperature in the coming days, meaning that the hazardous conditions may soon lessen – much to the relief of millions of families across the US. It’s thought that a number of record low temperatures were broken across Minnesota and Illinois, with Chicago reportedly having recorded the lowest temperatures in its history for January 31st. The data recorded showed that temperatures dipped to -21F, a steep drop from the previous record of -12F 34 years prior.
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It’s thought that the polar vortex will cost the US billions of dollars in the long run, with a number of energy companies even requesting that families reduce their thermostats so that demands for heating may be met elsewhere. The conditions have severely affected millions of people’s ability to work, too – meaning that, on the back of the longest US government shutdown in history, plenty of American families are still feeling the pinch.
However, temperatures are hopefully set to wing their way back around again – and normality, at least for a while, can come back into play. In the meantime, do still take care if you are in the Midwest!