Environment

Polar air brings single digit cold to East, South

ATLANTA (AP) — Fountains froze over, a 200-foot Ferris wheel in Atlanta shut down, and Southerners had to dig out winter coats, hats and gloves they almost never have to use.

The record-breaking polar air that has made the Midwest shiver over the past few days spread to the East and South on Tuesday, sending the mercury plunging into the single digits and teens from Boston and New York to Atlanta, Birmingham, Nashville and Little Rock — places where many people don't know the first thing about extreme cold.

The morning weather map for the eastern half of the U.S. looked like an algebra worksheet: lots of small, negative numbers. In fact, the Midwest and the East were colder than much of Antarctica.

South, East brace for polar temps, wind chill

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Frigid air that snapped decades-old records will make venturing outside dangerous for a second straight day, this time spreading to southern and eastern parts of the U.S. and keeping many schools and businesses shuttered. Meanwhile, residents driven from their homes by power outages in the Midwest worried about burst pipes.

Monday's subzero temperatures broke records in Chicago, which set a record for the date at minus 16, and Fort Wayne, Ind., where the mercury fell to 13 below. Records also fell in Oklahoma and Texas, and wind chills across the region were 40 below and colder. Officials in states like Indiana already struggling with high winds and more than a foot of snow urged residents to stay home if they could.

"The cold is the real killer here," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said Monday as he asked schools and businesses to remain closed another day. "In 10 minutes you could be dead without the proper clothes."

Subzero 'polar vortex' pushes frigid air across US

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Frigid, dense air swirled across much of the U.S. on Monday, forcing some cities and their residents into hibernation while others layered up and carried on despite a dangerous cold that broke decades-old records.

Wind chill warnings stretched from Montana to Alabama. For a big chunk of the Midwest, the subzero temperatures moved in behind another winter wallop: more than a foot of snow and high winds that made traveling treacherous. Officials closed schools in cities including Chicago, St. Louis and Milwaukee and warned residents to stay indoors and avoid the frigid cold altogether.

The forecast is extreme: Wind chills were expected to drop as low as negative 55 Monday night in International Falls, Minn., and rebound to minus 25 to minus 35 on Tuesday. Farther south, the wind chill is expected to hit negative 50 in Chicago and minus 35 in Detroit.

Jewell scales new challenges as Interior Secretary

Source: 
Washington Post

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell brings an outsider's perspective to her Cabinet post, and according to The Washington Post even her opponents can find that appealing.

Incandescent bulbs go quietly in US New Year changeover

Source: 
Politico

There were no more fights at the end, as federal energy efficiency rules finally banished manufacture and imports of 40-watt and 60-watt incandescent light bulbs, Politico reports.

World Resources Institute President Steer delivers Stories to Watch address

Washington, January 8, 2014, 9:00 am

World Resources Institute President Andrew Steer delivers annual Stories to Watch address.

Colorado River hit by 14 years of drought

Source: 
New York Times

The long-term drought drying up the Colorado River, which may result in unprecedented water rationing measures, is presenting states in the Southwest with critical challenges, The New York Times reports.

Sparse Sierra snow triggers SoCal drought worries

Source: 
Los Angeles Times

Snow levels in the Sierra Nevada that are way below normal are triggering fears that southern California may suffer severe drought this year, The Los Angeles Times reports.

Environmental groups seeking new leadership in 2014

Source: 
National Journal

Maggie Fox's departure from the Climate Reality Project is one among many leadership changes U.S. green groups are seeing this year, the National Journal reports.

Below-zero temps push into Midwest, Northeast

CHICAGO (AP) — Icy, snow-covered roads and high winds made travel treacherous Sunday from the Dakotas and Michigan to Missouri as much of the nation braced for the next winter wallop: a dangerous cold that could break records.

A whirlpool of frigid, dense air known as a "polar vortex" was expected to suppress temperatures in more than half of the continental U.S. starting into Monday and Tuesday, with wind chill warnings stretching from Montana to Alabama.

It was 5 degrees at kickoff Sunday afternoon inside sold-out Lambeau Field for a playoff game between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers, one of the coldest ever played.

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