Polar blast kills at least 9, freezes lakes, disrupts flights in US

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Polar blast kills at least 9, freezes lakes, disrupts flights in US
Washington, Jan 8: Polar freeze has brought the United States to a standstill - literally. People have been staying indoors for past many days, thanks to the deadly blast of arctic air. At least 9 deaths were reported in North America.

The cold blast has affected oil production and other industries in the region. At least 2500 flights were grounded in US and several trains were delayed and cancelled. Schools remain closed since Monday

Parts of the midwest and the east of the US are colder than much of Antarctica or Alaska, said sources. Shelters for the homeless were overflowing due to the severe cold. The coldest weather in 44 years, this has been described by some meteorologists as the "polar vortex'.

Frozen cities

Major US cities were in the grip of temperatures well below freezing, with Chicago seeing 2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 17 C), Detroit 0 F (minus 18 C), Pittsburgh 5 F (minus 15 C), Washington 19 (minus 7 C) and Boston 15 F (minus 9 C).

New York's Central Park recorded the lowest temperature for the date, 4 Fahrenheit (minus 16 C), rising to 9 F (minus 13 C) on Tuesday afternoon with wind chills making it feel much colder, meteorologists said.

At New York's Bowery Mission homeless shelter, the 80-bed dormitory was full on Monday night and 179 other people slept in the chapel and cafeteria, officials said.

Frozen lakes, beaches

The deadly weather had lakes and beaches frozen in US. Lake Michigan was frozen completely. People from the region have been sharing pictures of frozen waterbodies, trees and ice-fallen roads on social networking sites. A video of a bottle of boiled water getting frozen within seconds have been taking rounds on Youtube.

People preferred to stay indoors. The unfortunate are the homeless masses who are seeking sanctuaries to escape the biting cold. They have been living in stores, train stations and trains.

"The cold is the real killer here," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said Monday as he asked schools and businesses to remain closed for another day. "In 10 minutes you could be dead without the proper clothes."

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