Bitter Chill Plunges East Coast Into Arctic Temps

Temperatures across the South and East plummet just as the Midwest starts to emerge from the freezer

  • Share
  • Read Later

Like TIME on Facebook for more breaking news and current events from around the globe!

Kiichiro Sato / AP

Long lines of passengers are at the TSA security check point at Chicago Midway International Airport, on Jan. 6, 2014, in Chicago.

The colossal block of frigid, dense air that has shattered winter records in many parts of the United States hit the East Coast and the South on Tuesday, sending temperatures plummeting to dangerous sub-zero levels for millions of Americans.

Just as the Midwest is emerging from the so-called “polar vortex” that saw some wind chills reach 50 degrees below zero, temperatures across the South and the East Coast are taking a nose dive. In New York City, the temperature in Central Park plummeted almost 50 degrees overnight, from 55 degree to an overnight low of 6 degrees. The city hasn’t seen that kind of a one-day swing since the early 1920s, the New York Times reports.

As the cold air pushes across the country, highs in parts of Alabama, Georgia and northern Florida are forecast to be in the single-digits. In Atlanta, the wind chill is expected to 1o degrees below zero.

The polar vortex has already caused school closures and the cancellation or delay of thousands of flights across the country. More than 3,700 flights were canceled across the country on Monday as plane crews dealt with sluggish fuel and de-icing fluid that froze, the Associated Press reports. Officials in states affected by the polar air have encouraged residents to stay indoors whenever possible and to dress in layers when venturing outside.