Extreme cold sweeps across United States


WTAJ Weather

this is a photo of the frost coming off Lake Michigan beside the city.

Angelique Robinson, Staff Writer & Social Media Coordinator

Cooler weather has graced Florida for the past few weeks. The weather in Florida is not the only weather being affected. Throughout the United States, there has been weather much colder than usual. The cold has become so extreme it has been labeled as an arctic freeze.

Global warming is part of the cause of the arctic, but because science is not advanced enough, it cannot be labeled as the generator of the arctic freeze. There is a common misconception surrounding the idea; generally, people believe that the only thing global warming affects is rising temperatures. However, as global warming affects extreme heat, the antithesis, extreme cold, is affected the same way. The misconception is that people believe that global warming should generally make winters warmers. According to Kerry Sheridan of phys.org a jet stream is what brought the extreme temperatures to the United States. A jet stream is a powerful band of air currents, the flow of these currents create wind. Sheridan explains that jet streams get more unstable as the contrast between the humid hot air of Central America and the dry icy air of the Arctic Circle.

This is where global warming plays a factor, because the tropics are warmer the contrast has increased, making the jet streams more unstable, causing them to flow quickly and bring freezing temperatures to the nation from the Arctic Circle.

The temperatures in the North were very extreme. The coldest states were Minnesota and North Dakota. According to the National Weather Service, areas in both states experienced temperature below negative 60 degrees.

Other states like Illinois, Wisconsin and Iowa had similar temperatures that have been in the negative 40s and 50s. The National Weather Service released a chart showing that none of these states have experienced cold weather this severe since the mid-1990s.

Over the course of the arctic chill, there have been lots of effects. The most serious and lasting effects were all the people who have died due to the chill. The arctic chill has claimed at least 21 victims across the Midwest. According to SBS News, the ages of the victims ranged, university students and the elderly all fell victim to the cold.

Many schools across the Northern states have been closed for most of this past week. Even colleges put classes on pause due to the cold.

College freshman at Christopher Newport University, Sam Rzonca stated that “While it wasn’t too bad for me, one of my friend’s school had to close because it was so bad that pipes busted and the heating in the dorms was not strong enough.”

The U.S. Postal Service was severely affected. According to USA Today News, “The USPS announced that no mail will be delivered in parts of Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.”

Many people in these states would receive packages late as USPS also halted deliveries in these Northern states.

FedEx continued to deliver throughout the storm. According to People, one of their truck drivers was found dead Thursday, January 31. The driver was 69 years old.

For many people this was a dangerous life experience. Many had majority of the week off and were able to remain in their homes away from danger. Luckily for the nation this crisis only lasted a few days.