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Frigid temperatures expected to loom across the U.S.

Parts of the United states have been hit hard with what's referred to as a 'polar vortex,' causing frigid temperatures and treacherous conditions. Today marks the peak of this latest weather system that has blanketed the U.S., from the North Pole. The relentless wind and cold makes normal temperatures feel like arctic ones, due to the wind chill factors.

The first major winter storm of 2014 attacks the U.S.
The first major winter storm of 2014 attacks the U.S.
Getty Images

The wind chills are nothing to take lightly. In fact, some meteorologists forecast that temperatures can drop below freezing, with wind chills in excess of up to 70 degrees below zero. In those temperatures, exposed skin is subject to frostbite and hypothermia, within minutes.

A 'polar vortex' is a large cyclone that's located near one or both of the planet's geographical poles, and are low-pressure areas that strengthen in the winter. Normally, they remain circulating around the Arctic or Antarctic circles (

City workers are putting in many hours of overtime, spreading salt on roads and shoveling snow that has not stopped falling for days. In the Midwest, temperatures are expected to drop to 15 degrees below zero. Places such as Fargo, North Dakota and Chicago, these temperatures do occur during the winter. The difference during this massive storm is the wind chill factor that makes already blistering cold a health hazard to any living creature caught in its' grasp.

In addition to the freezing cold, parts of the Central Midwest have been dumped on with over a foot of snow. This makes driving treacherous, due to the sheets of ice underneath the fresh powder. Missouri, Ohio, Illinois and parts of Michigan should see the snow dissipating sometime today. The East Coast is not out of the path of danger. Winter storm Hercules is a force to be reckoned with, carrying massive amounts of snow and cold temperatures. Exercise caution when traveling.


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