The polar vortex that has plunged temperatures to -30 degrees Celsius has already caused at least nine deaths in this city, according to the John H. Stroger Jr. hospital, and more than a dozen victims from freezing or traffic accidents as a result of frost in other areas of the Midwest and Northeast of the United States.
Chicago, called the windy city and now frozen by the arctic air explosion, is considered to be colder than Antarctica, according to news agencies, as the extreme cold snap plummets temperatures in the Midwest to record levels from the middle of this week that is ending.
It’s been more than two decades since a similar arctic air explosion hit the Midwest and Northeast so badly, according to the U.S. Meteorological Service.
The solution for the tens of millions affected has been to raise the heating temperature. On Wednesday, U.S. households and businesses used record amounts of natural gas, according to preliminary results from financial data provider Refinitiv. In Detroit, General Motors and Fiat suspended operations at several of their plants after the utility issued an energy-saving emergency appeal.
Temperatures are now expected to rise over the weekend in the 14 states that have remained on alert. In Chicago, thermometers are expected to jump to 10 degrees Celsius, which means that in the same week they will have witnessed 40 degrees Celsius difference.
This phenomenon will have consequences for those affected. Experts warn that the rapid melting of ice is unprecedented and could cause problems such as pipe bursts, river floods and road collapses.