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Cold snap paralyses Midwestern US; 8 dead: What is polar vortex?

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Washington, Jan 31: Days after the government shutdown ended in the US, it's Nature's shutdown being recorded in the country. Old records are set to tumble as the polar vortex sends extremely cold air in the Midwestern and northeastern parts of the country.

Cold snap paralyses Midwestern US; 8 dead: What is polar vortex?

Emergency was announced in places like Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois because of extreme weather conditions. It was said that Minneapolis could break its record low temperature that was set in the 1800s while Chicago could break its record -27 degree Fahrenheit recorded in 1985.

On Tuesday (January 29) evening, Minnesota witnessed minus 77 degrees Fahrenheit, said reports. Eight people have lost their lives so far in the cold.

It's so cold in US that railway tracks are 'set on fire' to enable train service!

Now what is polar vortex which is being seen as the villain for such extreme weather?

The polar vortex is an area of low pressure, a wide expanse of swirling cold air, which is located in the polar zones. The one up in the north can cause extreme weather conditions and sub-zero temperatures in the US although this is nothing new.

Sometimes, the low-pressure system which is full of cold Arctic air can extend a little bit too far, bringing all the cold air with it and reach as far as Florida in the South, making the locals experience how life is in the Arctic.

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