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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Brutal Arctic blast leaves 187m shivering in US At -16°C, NY Breaks 118-Yr-Old Record Of Lowest Temperature

New York: A deadly blast of arctic air that shattered decades-old records as it gripped the middle US moved eastward on Tuesday, cancelling thousands of flights, paralysing road travel and closing schools and businesses. 

    Forecasters said some 187 million people could feel the effects of the "polar vortex" by the time it spreads across the US. New York's Central Park 
hit a record low temperature for the day of -16°C, shattering a 118-year-old record, but with winds gusting to 51kmph conditions felt far colder, according to the US National Weather Service. The cold broke records in Chicago, which set a local record on Monday at minus -27°C, and elsewhere. 
    Shelters for the homeless were overflowing due to the severe cold brought by a polar air mass that produced the coldest temperatures in two decades and at least four deaths. 
    Temperatures were expect
ed to be 14°-19° celsius below normal from the midwest to the southeast, the National Weather Service warned. 
    After running into unpassable snow and ice, three Chicago-bound Amtrak trains came to a halt on Monday afternoon, stranding more than 500 passengers overnight. They had heat, water, lights and toilet facilities, according to Amtrak. As of Tuesday morning, passengers on two trains, which spent the night on the tracks in Bureau County, Illinois were being transported to Chicago by chartered bus, an Amtrak spokesman said. More than 15,000 customers in Indiana remained without power. 
    In the normally mild south, Atlanta recorded its coldest weather on this date in 44 years, when the temperature dropped to -14°C. Wholesale electricity prices in the central and eastern US spiked far above their normal seasonal level as homes and businesses needed to use more energy to warm buildings. 
    The deep freeze snarled many Americans' morning commutes with icy or closed roads and flight delays on Tuesday, with some 1,987 US flights cancelled and roughly 1,028 delayed, according to FlightAware.com. Major US cities from the midwest to the east coast were in the grip of temperatures below freezing, with Chicago at -23°C, Detroit -24°C, New York -14°C, Washington -13°C and Boston -11°C. AGENCIES 

Oil prices shoot up 
    
The price of oil rose to near $94 a barrel on Tuesday as unusually cold weather in the US was expected to fuel demand for energy. By mid- afternoon in Europe, benchmark US oil for February delivery was up 42 cents to $93.85 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract fell 53 cents to settle at $93.43 a barrel. AP

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