UNITED NATIONS : Bitterly cold weather in the United States has led to at least 21 deaths and resulted in freezing temperatures in all 50 states on Tuesday, according to reports. The 21 fatalities included that of a 1-year-old Missouri boy, who died when a car he was riding in was hit by a snow plough, one report said.
Seven others died in Illinois and six in Indiana, part of the Midwest region that has suffered particularly bitter cold due to a polar vortex bringing Arctic air pushing into the continental US.
The air flow resulted in the breaking of numerous weather records, creating the coldest Jan. 7 ever recorded in Cleveland (minus 11 degrees Fahrenheit), Atlanta (6 degrees) and Austin, Texas (12 degrees), NBC News said.
When accounting for wind chill, some northern cities saw punishing conditions of minus 16 in New York City, minus 31 in Chicago, and minus 45 in northernmost Minnesota, according to NBC. All of these were colder than the Tuesday morning reading of minus 6 recorded at the South Pole, according to Bloomberg News. The temperatures were expected to climb on Wednesday, moving closer to the seasonal average, though flight cancellations and other effects of the cold wave would likely continue for days, NBC said. Tuesday also saw below-zero temperatures in every U.S. state, including Hawaii, where the summit of Mauna Kea saw a reading of 18 degrees.
The weather system also resulted in unusually high snowfall, with The Wall Street Journal reporting forecasts for a massive 80 inches of snow at Tug Hill in western New York. In New York City, where Central Park saw it’s lowest-ever temperature for Jan. 7 at 4 degrees, utility services had asked residents to limit their power usage.