Polar vortex brings coldest air in a generation

By Meg Wagner, Brian Ries, Amanda Wills and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 9:53 a.m. ET, June 14, 2019
6 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:05 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

Chicago will be colder than parts of Alaska — and parts of Antarctica

Commuters wait for a train as snow falls Monday in Chicago.
Commuters wait for a train as snow falls Monday in Chicago. AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato

Chicago is one of the cities "in the epicenter of the extreme cold," CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said. It could remain below zero in the city from around noon today until around midday on Friday.

And tomorrow, Chicago will be colder than parts of Alaska and Antarctica.

  • Chicago's high tomorrow is -13, and the city will see a low of -24. (Wind chill will make it feel as low as -48.)
  • Meanwhile, Priestley Glacier, Antarctica, will see a high of 6 and a low of -7.
  • And Barrow, Alaska, (which is also known as Utqiagvik) is expected to have a high of -6 and a low of -12.
10:28 a.m. ET, January 29, 2019

The polar vortex is to blame for this frigid weather

From CNN's Judson Jones

You're going to hear the term "polar vortex" a lot this week. It's not a winter storm — but it is what's responsible for freezing temperature across the Midwest and East Coast.

What is the polar vortex anyway? The polar vortex, as it sounds, is circulation of strong, upper-level winds that normally surround the northern pole in a counterclockwise direction. It's essentially a polar low-pressure system. 

These winds tend to keep the bitter cold air locked in the Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is not a single storm: The vortex is continually surrounding the Arctic region.

Here's why the vortex matters now: On occasion, this vortex can become distorted and dip much farther south than you would normally find it, allowing cold air to spill southward.

10:04 a.m. ET, January 29, 2019

8 tips for keeping your family warm — and safe — during this cold wave

From CNN's Jacqueline Howard

As millions of Americans brace for sub-zero temperatures this week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering tips for looking after yourself and others:

  • Make sure any infants younger than 1 year old are not sleeping in cold rooms and have adequate warm clothing, such as footed pajamas, one-piece wearable blankets or sleep sacks.
  • Check on neighbors and friends older than 65 to ensure that their homes are adequately heated.
  • Be careful while using space heaters or fireplaces, and avoid using candles during a power outage. Never use an electric generator or gas or charcoal grills indoors.
  • Leave water taps slightly open to prevent freezing pipes.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine because they can cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Dress warmly with hats, scarves and mittens and by wearing layers.
  • Avoid walking on ice and getting wet. If you have to shovel snow or do other outdoor work, take your time and work slowly.
  • Try to keep pets indoors during cold weather, but if they go outside, thoroughly wipe their legs and underbelly free of snow when returning indoors. And never let your dog off leash on snow or ice.

Read more winter weather tips here.

9:45 a.m. ET, January 29, 2019

So far, more than 1,000 flights have been canceled today

So far today, 1,031 flights into, out of or within the US have been canceled, according to FlightAware.

Another 479 have been delayed.

Here's a look at where the delays are clustered this morning:

9:45 a.m. ET, January 29, 2019

Winter weather is coming to Atlanta, days before the Super Bowl

From CNN's Emanuella Grinberg and Holly Yan

Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium
Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium Photo by Justin Heiman/Getty Images

In Atlanta, football fans are bracing for the winter weather's impact on the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots are set to face the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Temperatures will plunge today as the city gets hit with up to 2 inches of snow. All Georgia state offices will be closed Tuesday and several precautionary measures are taking effect.

Yesterday, the city began pretreating some routes and bridges with a brine solution to prevent freezing, Atlanta Department of Public Works Communications Director Kim Rankins said. The city will also open emergency warming centers Tuesday starting at 6 a.m. The centers will remain open until Thursday morning.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she is in touch with NFL officials and will work with them regarding events scheduled across the city as winter weather moves into the area.

9:44 a.m. ET, January 29, 2019

75% of the country will dip below freezing this week

The National Weather Service projects that 75% of the US population will see below-freezing temperatures at some point before Sunday.

Only parts of Florida, Texas, the Pacific coast and the Southwest appear to avoid dipping below 32 degrees:

And about 30% of Americans will bee below-zero temperatures this week: