Relief on the way for shivering Americans

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CHICAGO: After days of an arctic chill so cold that a Chicago zoo brought their polar bear inside, the United States (US) woke up to a break in the weather Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

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The National Weather Service said “a much anticipated warm up” was expected over the eastern two-thirds of the United States, which had shivered through a week of record-breaking cold and two massive snowstorms.

But it will still be long-underwear and scarf weather for many: the weather service predicts temperatures will be 15 to 25 degrees Fahrenheit below average in parts of the upper Midwest.

And every US state except sunny Florida and tropical Hawaii were forecast to dip below freezing either during the day or overnight Wednesday.

Air travel, which had been an utter nightmare with more than 18,000 flights cancelled since Thursday, was starting to slowly return to normal.

On Wednesday morning, 664 US flights had been cancelled and more than 1,000 were delayed, according to FlightAware.com, a site that monitors air travel.

The slight warming comes after some truly stunning tempera–tures—in some cases lower than the surface of Mars.

Chicago was colder than the South Pole when officials at the Lincoln Park zoo decided to keep Anana the polar bear inside on Monday. Unlike her wild cousins she hadn’t built up the protective fat stores to insulate herself against the chill.

It was so cold in Kentucky that an escaped inmate begged to be let back into prison so he could warm up after spending the night shivering in an abandoned house.

And more than 500 passengers spent the night aboard trains stranded by snow drifts in Illinois.

The most dangerous cold—cold that can cause frostbite in minutes and death in a matter of hours—hit the Midwest, as a weather phenomenon called the “polar vortex” brought frigid air from the Arctic.

AFP

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