Chicago Will Be Colder Than Parts of Antarctica This Week

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago is preparing for life-threatening cold temperatures this week as a polar vortex grips the Midwest. Temperatures are expected to stay below -13°F all through Wednesday, January 30, making the Windy City colder than the South Pole in Antarctica, which will see highs of -4°F that same day, CBS Chicago reports.

The Midwest is known for its brutal winters, but the first month of 2019 is already shaping up to be one of the coldest months in the region's history. On Wednesday, thermometers could read as low as -20°F, which would be a record low temperature for January 30 in Chicago. It's also in the running to be the second-coldest day ever for the city, coming behind January 20, 1985, which brought lows of -27°F.

Wind chill will make the historic temperatures even more extreme. Gusts could potentially make it feel as cold -50°F outside, prompting safety officials to put a wind chill advisory into effect early Tuesday morning. At 6 p.m. Tuesday, the advisory will be upgraded to a wind chill warning which will last until noon on Thursday. The Chicago public school system has already canceled all classes for January 30, and in Wisconsin, Governor Tony Evers has declared a state of emergency.

This week's weather isn't just cold by Midwest standards. Barrow (Utqiaġvik), Alaska; Oslo, Norway; and even parts of Siberia and the Yukon are all expected to see high temperatures above that of Chicago's on January 30.

[h/t CBS Chicago]

Denver is About to Experience Summer and Winter Temperatures Within 24 Hours

iStock.com/mphotoi
iStock.com/mphotoi

In a story tailor-made for exhaustive Weather Channel coverage, Denver, Colorado is about to experience one of the more bizarre weather shifts in recent memory. After an expected Tuesday high of 80°F, residents can anticipate a dramatic shift down to 32°F by midday Wednesday, with an initial half-inch of snow accumulation increasing to up to 7 inches by Wednesday night.

Put another way: Citizens who need to make sure they hydrate in the warm temperatures Tuesday will have to bring out the parkas the following day.

The Denver Post reports that the warm air coming ahead of the cold can result in a clash of air masses, prompting areas of low pressure that can create forceful and damaging weather conditions. The storm could bring winds of up to 60 miles per hour and possibly even cause power outages. Snow accumulation should dissipate by the weekend, when temperatures are expected to climb back into the 60s.

The high temperature record for April 9 in Denver is 81°F, set in 1977.

[h/t The Denver Post]

What Is a Bomb Cyclone?

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The phrase bomb cyclone has re-entered the news this week as parts of the central U.S. face severe weather. Mountain and Midwestern states, including Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and South Dakota, all fall in the path of a winter storm expected to deliver tornadoes, hail, heavy snow, flooding, and hurricane-force winds on Wednesday, March 13 into Thursday. It seems appropriate for a storm that strong to have bomb in its name, but the word actually refers to a meteorological phenomenon and not the cyclone's explosive intensity.

According to The Denver Post, the bomb in bomb cyclone stands for bombogenesis. Bombogenesis occurs when a non-tropical storm experiences at least a 24 millibar (the unit used to measure barometric pressure) drop within 24 hours. Low pressure makes for intense storms, so a bomb cyclone is a system that's built up a significant amount strength in a short length of time.

This type of storm usually depends on the ocean or another large body of water for its power. During the winter, the relatively warm air coming off the ocean and the cold air above land can collide to create a sharp drop in atmospheric pressure. Also known as a winter hurricane, this effect has produced some of the worst snowstorms to ever hit the U.S.

The fact that this latest bomb cyclone has formed nowhere near the coast makes it even more remarkable. Rather, a warm, subtropical air mass and a cold, Arctic air mass crossed paths, creating the perfect conditions for a rare bombogenesis over the Rockies and Great Plains states.

Central U.S. residents in the bomb cyclone's path have taken great precautions ahead of the storm. Over 1000 flights have been canceled for Wednesday and schools throughout Colorado have closed.

[h/t The Denver Post]

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