Bone-chilling cold that paralyzed a chunk of the US this week and killed at least 18 people eased Friday as the Arctic air mass retreated ahead of a warmer-than-normal weekend in areas of the Midwest and Northeast.
In Chicago, where the temp dipped as low as -22F (-30C) this week, temperatures of 22F (-5.5C) by Friday afternoon felt balmy for some in the nation’s 3rd-largest city.
“It has got to be an almost 50 degree difference, it feels like spring,” said a commuter heading home from Chicago’s downtown financial district, wearing just a sweatshirt.
Temperatures from southern New England to the upper Midwest should reach the mid-40’s to low 50’s Fthrough the weekend and Monday, forecasters said, after a record-breaking cold snap that stopped US Mail deliveries in some parts of the Midwest and shuttered schools and businesses.
“The bitter cold air is going to be pushed up into Canada,” said a senior meteorologist for Accuweather.
The Midwest’s worst cold snap in 20yrs+ was created by the polar vortex, a reservoir of icy air that usually swirls over the North Pole. Shifting air currents caused it to slip down through Canada and into the Us Midwest during the week.
But while the US Midwest and East Coast thawed out, a fierce Winter storm has hit California, carrying heavy rains and high winds that could touch off city flooding and mudslides in SoCal.