Polar vortex brings coldest air in a generation

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12:29 p.m. ET, January 31, 2019

Congratulations, Ponsford, Minnesota! You just recorded the lowest windchill at minus 66 degrees so far.

The lowest windchill measured in the last 48 hours is -66 degrees in Ponsford, Minnesota, the National Weather Service said. 

The lowest air temperature measured in that same time period is -48 degrees in Morris Camp, Minnesota.  

7:20 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

Firefighters struggle to battle house fire in Indiana in freezing temperatures

 Cynthia Garza Rangel
 Cynthia Garza Rangel

Firefighters battling a house fire in Hammond, Indiana, in Wednesday's -22 degree weather ran in to a major problem: the hose water kept turning into ice.

"Everything got slowed down and even a fire hydrant was frozen," Hammond Fire Chief Jeff Smith told CNN. "I'm currently thawing out and so is my crew.” 

The frozen water and cold temperatures created a number of issues for the firefighters.

"A couple guys slipped and fell on the ice, including me. They looked like snowmen, ice was falling and cracking of them," Smith said. "It was a difficult situation. Cold weather takes a little bit extra time."

The fire was reported 7:15 a.m. ET, but it took firefighters several hours to finally extinguish the flames. An older woman who lived in the home remained missing as of Wednesday afternoon, Smith said. The cause of the fire is under investigation, but firefighters think it started in the basement.

That part of the house, he said, was "filled with a couple feet of water that's turned into ice."

7:05 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

Last 4 runners in Minnesota finish ultramarathon in subzero temperatures

Scott Rokis/Arrowhead 135
Scott Rokis/Arrowhead 135

All the runners in the Arrowhead 135 ultramarathon have completed the race, according to the race’s Facebook page.

While 146 runners started, only 52 completed the course.

“It has warmed up from -32 early this AM to a balmy -16,” race organizers said on Facebook within an hour of the racers finishing.

Scott Rokis/Arrowhead 135
Scott Rokis/Arrowhead 135

6:35 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

At least 9 deaths linked to cold temperatures and extreme weather

At least nine deaths have been linked to the extreme weather and cold temperatures.

There have been at least three weather-related deaths following crashes in Iowa since Sunday, Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Nathan Ludwig told CNN. An additional death was reported at the University of Iowa on Wednesday morning.

Here's what we know so far:

  • A 9-year-old boy from Nebraska was killed Sunday in a crash in Iowa when his family's vehicle slid off Interstate 80 and into a ditch in Cass County. At the time of the accident, there was freezing rain and icy conditions on the roadways.
  • A 31-year-old man was killed Monday on Interstate 80 in Iowa when the car he was riding in crashed into a telephone pole in Polk County. According to the Iowa State Patrol report, the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed. 
  • A 50-year-old woman was killed Monday when a semi-trailer rear-ended a car she was riding in on Interstate 80 in Iowa. According to Iowa State Patrol, the roads were icy at the time.
  • A University of Iowa student died Wednesday after he was found unresponsive on campus. The student was taken to a hospital, where he later died. His death is believed to be weather-related, according to the University of Iowa.

6:04 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

US Coast Guard rescues 7 people stranded in ice shanty in Wisconsin

US Coast Guard, 9th District Great Lakes
US Coast Guard, 9th District Great Lakes

The US Coast Guard rescued seven people Tuesday after they became stranded in an ice shanty near Sturgeon Bay in 4 below zero weather.

The group had become stranded on the ice due to the bitter cold and problems with their utility vehicle, so they propped up an ice shanty, according to the Coast Guard. The weather at the time was 4 below zero with -30-degree wind chills.

Coast Guard and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources crews loaded the group on boats and took them to shore. They suffered no apparent injuries, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

US Coast Guard, 9th District Great Lakes
US Coast Guard, 9th District Great Lakes

5:54 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

Chicago bar-goers create colorful snow in the city's freezing temperatures

Alina Butenko
Alina Butenko

You've seen the videos by now -- people toss boiling water into the freezing air and are rewarded with a puff of snow.

But did you know that with a touch of food coloring, one could make it snow red, white and blue (but mostly white)?

That's what one group of friends discovered this afternoon while gathered at Chicago's Lottie's Pub when they decided to test that theory.

See the video:

Video from Alina Butenko

5:58 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

What the squall looked like across the Northeast

A snow squall swept across parts of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware this afternoon.

The narrow band of snow associated with Arctic front pushed through the area and brought high winds, cold temperatures and white-out conditions.

Here's what it looked like:

Delaware

New York

Philadelphia

5:00 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

Schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul will remain closed Thursday

Schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul will remain closed Thursday as bitterly cold temperatures continue to blast across the Midwest.

Temperatures should warm up starting Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

"Temperatures are expected to rebound 75 degrees between Thursday morning and Sunday afternoon," NWS tweeted.

Meanwhile, this is how cold it was in Minnesota on Wednesday:

4:16 p.m. ET, January 30, 2019

There's a 95-degree temperature difference between these 2 cities

Allisonhouse.com
Allisonhouse.com

It's currently a balmy 72 degrees in Key West, Florida, and 23 below zero in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. That's a 95 degree difference from north to south. 

If you factor in the wind chill, it's even more impressive: The temperature gap widens to 114 degrees when the 42-below-zero wind chill in Northern Minnesota is included.