'Polar Vortex' blows severe winter weather over Northeast and Midwest

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Jan. 6, 2013

NEW YORK CITY – A brutally cold arctic blast is blanketing much of the US Midwest and the Northeast – about 140 million Americans are said to be living in dangerous deep freeze areas.

Weather experts say, this is one of the coldest arctic outbreaks in almost 20 years – reaching its peak Monday and Tuesday.

The National Weather Service says, they are expecting 30 to 50 degrees below average temperatures in some cities – below zero over much of the upper Midwest and in some parts of the Northeast.

Dangerously cold wind chills as low as minus 50s may cause frostbite in as little as five minutes, according weather experts.

Friday’s blizzard has left the Big Apple and much of the Northeast buried in about eight inches of snow.

Newly installed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio braved the bitter cold weather to shovel his own driveway on Saturday.

De Blasio said, “The best option today is to stay close to home. The best option is to not be outside too long.”

Over the weekend, the unusual polar-like weather has been a nightmare for travelers.

About 3,000 flights were canceled Sunday due to weather, mechanical and other problems, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded in New York and New Jersey Airports.

Meanwhile, Filipinos from Miramar, Florida came to New Jersey last week for the holidays and to celebrate their Lola’s 80th birthday.

Their Sunday morning flight back to Florida was canceled, but unlike many stranded passengers, they say, they’re not complaining.

Stranded passenger Maripaz Widjaja said, “They don’t mind it because, even though in Florida’s nice weather, but they don’t mind it here because they get to spend with their cousin and they’re sledding, basically the adrenaline rush with the family.”

Known to many as Facebook Lola, Juliet Oberlin lives by herself in a senior apartment in Linden, New Jersey.

Facebook lola says, it’s not safe for seniors like her to live by themselves during these extremely cold days.

“I decided to stay with my daughter wherein they have a fireplace just in case there will be a power outage,” Oberlin said. “Then we can use their fireplace, wood-burning fireplace, than being by myself.”

Elizabeth, NJ resident Joji Panlilio said, “Bundle up to make sure that you’re warm enough when you go out into the elements. Secondly, allot enough time to get to work because a lot of the trains get delayed. You have to know alternative ways to get to work.”

You may contact Don Tagala at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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