Polar freeze grips United States, disrupting travel, business

January 7, 2014 03:08

CHICAGO/CLEVELAND, Ohio - A blast of Arctic air gripped the vast middle of the United States on Monday with the coldest temperatures in two decades causing at least four deaths, forcing businesses and schools to close and canceling thousands of flights.

Shelters for the homeless were overflowing due to the severe cold described by some meteorologists as the "polar vortex" and dubbed by media as the "polar pig."

Temperatures were 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit (11 to 22 degrees Celsius) below average in parts of Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska, according to the National Weather Service.

It was colder in Brimson, Minnesota, where the mercury plunged to minus 40 Fahrenheit (minus 40 Celsius) than in Arctic Bay, Canada, where it was minus 31F (minus 35C).

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