Odyssey Fields | Staff Writer
As a cold breeze washes over Hampton University, students and faculty alike bundle up—fighting against the chill. Last week winter temperatures dropped all over the U.S. The temperatures in the Midwest plunged deep into negative numbers. According to CNN, these temperatures were even lower than those in Alaska and, as a result, affected over 85 million people.
A polar vortex had gradually begun to move over the northern and eastern states of North America. The polar vortex affected Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York, Indiana, Texas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Missouri.
“People [were] freezing to death,” HU student Hannah McCall said.
Death tolls were calculated across the states of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana, noted the New York Times. More than 50 people in Chicago were treated in the hospital for frostbite, CNN reported.
According to reporting from The Guardian, the Illinois state government opened warming shelters to help those who are on the street.
Schools were closed and businesses were put on hold until the vortex passed.
“Cars aren’t even working, and my mom has to find babysitters. People are late to work,” said Minnesotan Taylor Moton.
Wind chills brought the cold to Chicago with temperatures as low as -27 degrees; in South Dakota, it reached -37 degrees. Temperatures hadn’t been this low since 1985, according to Curbed Chicago. Residents were encouraged to be careful and make sure that their pipes did not freeze. Pipes bursting could potentially lead to no heat, no way to prepare food and no electricity.
Climate change can be linked to the extreme weather all over the planet. The melting of the Arctic and the melting of glaciers in Antarctica have a direct effect on the temperatures in the winter and summer, CNN said.