The Polar Vortex is here! Bone-chilling temperatures in the Midwest are wreaking havoc for travellers and area residents.  Flight cancellations, historic wind chills and frostbite risks are making millions miserable today.

The National Weather Service in Des Moines, Iowa, has a bleak message for anyone going outside: “Avoid taking deep breaths, and minimize talking.” Seriously! 

Welcome to the Frozen Tundra

Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport may be bearing the brunt of it when it comes to air travel with wind chill temperatures reaching 50 degrees below zero and 80 flight cancellations, according to Flight Aware.  Check out their Misery Map as you dream of a sunny beach in Mexico. See the latest weather conditions on Flight View!   

Be Hardy, Be Prepared

Minnesota’s Star Tribune is reporting that January 30 will be the worst day with businesses, schools and government agencies closed due to the extreme cold.

Just how bad is it? Just ask meteorologist Paul Douglas who reports that the wind chill of -51 below makes Minneapolis 2 degrees colder than the Amundsen-Scott Weather Station at the South Pole! Flag Island is the coldest in the state with a wind chill of -64 Fahrenheit!

“Like drinking battery acid from a firehose (not recommended),” he writes. “Little Siberia (with better nightlife). Colder than the South Pole? Nice to have our weather-bragging rights back. That said, please make it stop.”

Postal deliveries are being cancelled across the Midwest on January 30, 2019. Photo courtesy of USPS.

Go Away, Jaden

All of this madness is being caused by the Polar Vortex and winter storm, which actually has a name: Jaden. The United States Postal service, which proudly claims that “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds,” has found the extreme cold to be an issue. A big issue!

“Due to the extreme weather conditions caused by Winter Storm Jaden, we have temporarily suspended delivery service in certain locations to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees,” they explain on Twitter.

So, forget about sending or receiving letters and packages. There is no postal service in Minnesota or Iowa today. C’mon…do you expect your friendly mail carrier to brave temperatures plunging as low as 60 below zero Fahrenheit with the wind chill factor?

Areas of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Dakota will also be affected.

When Will the Cold End?  

If you’ve ever experienced the joys of a Midwest winter, you know the drill. Don’t head to the airport until you confirm that your flight isn’t grounded due to weather.  I learned a lot during my seven years living in the frozen tundra of Minnesota. You have to be hardy. You have to be prepared, and you have to keep a sense of humor!

There is some good news, though.  Temperatures in Minnesota are expected to rise into the 40s this weekend. It will feel like shorts and t-shirt weather after this Arctic freeze! Now, excuse me while I throw another log on the fire.