Arctic blast: US temperatures plummet to record lows

A man cleans the snow from the top of his vehicle in Detroit, Michigan, 12 November, 2019Image copyright

Image caption

Michigan is among the US states affected by heavy snowfall

An Arctic air mass has brought record-breaking low temperatures to several places in the US.

The Arctic blast, which began in Siberia, has brought heavy snow and ice to many areas.

Daily records have been set in states including Kansas and Illinois. Forecasters say hundreds of records could be matched or broken this week.

Four traffic deaths have been linked to the bad weather and more than 1,000 flights have been cancelled.

Schools have also been closed in some areas.

The National Weather Service (NSW) said the air mass was continuing to spread from the Plains towards the East Coast.

It warned that the cold front would make it feel like “the middle of winter” rather than November for much of the eastern two-thirds of the country.

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Several cities in Kansas set record low temperatures on Tuesday, when compared to the same date in previous years. The lowest temperature was recorded in Garden City, where it dropped to -1F (-18C), breaking the record of 7F set last year.

Chicago recorded a low of 7F, breaking the previous record of 8F set in 1986, the NWS said. The city also set a daily record for snowfall on Monday.

A recording of 8F in Indianapolis marked the city’s earliest recorded autumn temperature in single digits.

Image Copyright @NWSIndianapolis

Twitter post by @NWSIndianapolis: #Indy has dropped another degree.   The record for the date is now 8°.  This is the coldest temperature this early in the season on record.  Next closest was 11° on November 3rd, 1951. #Brrr #INwxImage Copyright @NWSIndianapolis

Rare snowfall was even seen in the Texas town of Brownsville, on the US-Mexico border.

NWS meteorologist Kevin Birk said the air mass was “more typical for the middle of January than mid-November.”

“It is pretty much about the coldest we can be this time of year [and] it could break records all over the region,” he added, according to AP news agency.

Numerous schools and businesses remained shuttered on Tuesday because of the unusual cold weather.

The cold weather has also affected road conditions.

An eight-year-old girl was killed in Kansas on Monday after a truck lost control on an icy highway, officials said. In Michigan, three people were killed in a crash thought to be caused by poor road conditions, according to the local sheriff’s office.

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