The Midwest is bracing for a Polar Vortex that will bring a wave of cold air that normally spins in the atmosphere over the North Pole down into the Great Lakes, blanketing approximately one quarter of the country in sub-zero temperatures. With a projected high of 12 degrees below zero on Wednesday, Chicago is looking at one of the coldest days on record.
To put into perspective just how cold that is, however, Chicago’s CBS 2 News points out that this week’s temperatures will make places like Siberia, Mount Everest, and even Antarctica seem balmy compared to the Windy City.
For example the South Pole is expected to reach a high temperature of 4 below zero on Wednesday. Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost point in the United States, located above the Arctic Circle, will be 7 below zero. Zackenberg Station, Greenland, which is also north of the Arctic Circle, will be 11 below.
While there is no weather station on the summit of Mount Everest, you would certainly expect even the base camp would be colder than Chicago, given it’s at an elevation of more than 17,000 feet above sea level. No such luck. They’re expecting a high of 30 on Wednesday.
Weather experts are warning people in the affected areas not to underestimate the cold.
“I cannot stress how dangerously cold it will be,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Mike Doll on Monday. “An entire generation has gone by without experiencing this type of cold.”
The National Weather Service in Des Moines said that the Polar Vortex will bring “the coldest air many of us will have ever experienced,” cautioning for people to “avoid taking deep breaths, and minimize talking,” while outdoors.