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Cold weather grips USA, called 'life-threatening'

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Top news coming in today to a surprisingly warm San Francisco is about the weather phenomenon called a "polar vortex"

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This polar vortex has caused millions of American To literally, shiver, and the temperatures today are the lowest seen in almost 40 years, says Newer.com.

The news site says that weather forecasters belief it will get even colder, until almost half of the country is engulfed in below-zero conditions by Wednesday of this week. Those temps can be life-threatening, says Newser.com.

Here are some other things to note, says the news source:

"The coldest temperatures in almost two decades will spread into the northern and central US today," the National Weather Service says. "Combined with gusty winds, these temperatures will result in life-threatening wind chill values as low as 60 degrees below zero."

These temperatures can cause human skin to be frostbitten within just minutes and that's why places like Minnesota, St. Louis and Chicago have closed public schools and told children and their parents to stay home, reports, Reuters

Right now, Anchorage in Alaska is warmer than Atlanta and Nashville, much further south in the US. In some cities the temperatures will be around 30-50 degrees lower than normal for the time of year, notes CNN.

To make matters worse, thousands of flights have been cancelled and JetBlue has cancelled its flights altogether to the Northeast. Delays and cancellations are the order of the day and travelers should check with their airline for updates.

The freezing temperatures did not stop "70,000 Green Bay Packers fans from turning up for their team's loss to the 49ers in conditions that felt as cold as minus 15."

One Packers fan tells Newser.com: "It's what Green Bay is all about—it's cold weather and hard-hitting football.

People can breathe a sigh of relief, however, to learn that the cold will not go on forever. One National Weather Service meteorologist tells Newser.com:

"By the end of the week the temperatures definitely start to moderate across the whole of the country. "

Source: Newser

Follow Sheila on Twitter (@Sheilamba)

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