Record Low Temperatures Experienced Around the Country

The first week of the New Year experiences record low chill

This past week, the US was hit with record low temperatures that brought a very cold start to the new year. Though parts of the country are used to low temperatures during the winter, none were expecting the freeze that hit the country and the effects it brought with it.

By Monday afternoon, parts of the Midwest were facing temperatures below zero, a climate uncommonly cold even for states used to frigid conditions. Soon the chill had spread across most of the country, and people were faced with the reality of a very cold few days. Record low temperatures were broken in major cities including New York City that reached a record low of 4 degrees. At one point every state, including Hawaii, reached sub-zero temperatures, and the lower 48 states averaged a low temperature of 13.8 degrees (Huffington Post).

Many are wondering what caused this freeze. Scientist are attributing this nationwide freeze to a polar vortex which according to CNN, ” is circulation of strong, upper-level winds that normally surround the northern pole in a counterclockwise direction — a polar low-pressure system.” The last time the country experienced the effects of the polar vortex was last March, though it was not nearly as severe. This cold is expected to have moved out by Thursday 9, when temperatures should return to their normal, but still chilly, state.

The cold had many negative consequences on the entire country. More than 2,600 flights were cancelled or delayed, causing many difficulties for travelers (LA Times). Many schools and day cares were cancelled, extending the Christmas break for many students. Frozen roads also hindered transportation and caused many difficulties. The homeless faced severe circumstances, though many cities worked to provide as much shelter as they could.

Another major issue was power outages that affected areas that were not used to such extreme temperatures. Energy companies were hard at work to restore power to those who had lost it. Though many industries experienced a halt because of the lack of available transportation, there was increased energy consumption throughout the US.

Farmland was damaged and many were forced to find alternate housing for animals that were not able to handle the cold. Even Anana, the polar bear in the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago did not have enough fat on her body to survive the cold and was kept inside due to the freeze (

Areas that experienced the worst of the cold were kept under a winter weather advisory which advised most people to stay in their houses because of the dangerous conditions. Luckily, Greenville did not reach temperatures that low though many wished it could have snowed at the very least. By Thursday the temperatures were expected to rise back to their normal levels in hopes that most of the country would be able to return to their previous winter temperatures.