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'INSANE!': Even Weather Experts Can't Believe How Cold It Is

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'INSANE!': Even Weather Experts Can't Believe How Cold It Is
Air temperatures at 4 a.m. EST on Jan. 29, 2019. NASA Earth Observatory

During bouts of extreme weather, we always turn to our beloved meteorologists to analyze, forecast and report these events.

So you know it's really cold outside when trusted weather experts, like Minneapolis's Chris Shaffer of WCCO-TV, dedicate The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" to Mother Nature amid temperatures that feel like the negative 30s, 40s and 50s.


As the deadly polar vortex grips much of the U.S., cities are clocking temperatures lower than most of Antarctica, Insider reported.

For instance in La Crosse, Wisconsin, temperatures dropped to -30°F at 5.20 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the local National Weather Service (NWS), and it may be the office's "all-time coldest record."

Meanwhile in the South Pole, AccuWeather data showed that only one weather station had a lower temperature than La Crosse around the same time, Insider noted. All the other weather stations on the continent recorded much warmer temps.

Sure, Antarctica is in the southern hemisphere, meaning it's in the middle of its summer. But cities like Chicago are forecast to be in the 25-below range on early Thursday, so it could be colder than the North Pole and Alaska, USA Today reported.

"The Arctic Ocean—including the North Pole—will probably be around 20 below," said weather.us meteorologist Ryan Maue, according to USA Today.

Meteorologist Jen Carfagno, the host of AMHQ at The Weather Channel, noticed that it's so cold that NWS Lincoln ran out of colors for its weather map.

WDRB meteorologist Rick DeLuca of Louisville, Kentucky chimed in with a big "NOPE!" about the -60°F wind chill in Grand Forks, North Dakota on Tuesday.

"But at least it's a dry cold," NWS Twin Cities joked back.

DeLuca also tweeted a photo of a shirt that literally froze from Louisville's blistering wind chill.

Andrew Buck Michael, meteorologist for Good Day Columbus, reminded us that many Midwesterners would probably rather be in Florida right now, where it feels 131 degrees warmer in Key West compared to Park Rapids, Minnesota.

Jokes aside, these snow squalls and wind chills can be very dangerous. Meteorologist John Kassell of Akron, Ohio shared a recent warning from NWS Des Moines telling residents that the weather will be "the coldest air many of us will have ever experienced" and for people to "avoid taking deep breaths, and minimize talking" while outdoors.

Unfortunately, many Americans will continue to freeze for the next few days. Air temperatures in parts of the continental U.S. could break all-time record lows for Jan. 30 and 31, NASA wrote in a blog post on Tuesday, adding that at least 90 million Americans could experience temperatures at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit, citing data from the NWS.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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