weather

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

While this week's super-cold conditions across much of the nation are fascinating and fun for many of us, there is a far more serious side to the story.

A wind chill advisory is in effect from midnight on Monday until 6:00 pm on Tuesday. Strong winds will combine to create low wind chills. Frostbite and hypothermia are a concern as temperatures drop. Precautions should be taken if you are heading outdoors. Wearing gloves and a hat and covering all exposed skin is recommended. Shelters are reaching out to the homeless in advance of dangerously cold temperatures expected overnight and Tuesday.

Rosie O'Beirne / Creative Commons

With single digit temperatures and below-zero wind chills in the forecast for Monday night and Tuesday, Governor Malloy has enacted the state's severe weather protocol, which coordinates homeless shelters and various state agencies though the state's 211 information and referral line. 

WNPR

Connecticut endured the first major winter storm of 2014, leaving much of the state with between five to nine inches of snowfall,which finally ended Friday morning. The major concern now is a blast of arctic cold temperatures that are expected to reach -15°F in some areas by Friday night.

Digital Vision/Photodisc / Thinkstock

When skin and underlying tissues freeze after exposure to very cold temperatures, that's frostbite. Hands, feet, nose and ears are most at risk. The key to treating frostbite is to gradually warm the skin, which may feel red and painful as it thaws. 

One day after helping to rescue 52 people from a ship stuck in Antarctic ice, a Chinese icebreaker is in danger of also being stranded for a while.

Australia's Maritime Safety Authority says the crew of the Xue Long sent out an alert Friday saying their ship may not be able "to move through heavy ice in the area."

The blast of winter weather that dumped 2 feet of snow in some parts of the Northeast and New England was being blamed for at least 13 deaths as of Friday afternoon.

National Weather Service

In addition to many school closings throughout the region, here are some of the other closings and cancelations we're seeing. The snow should start to taper off late Friday morning.

If you must go out, bundle up and take it slow as road crews continue to clear the snow and treat the roads.

Catie Talarski / WNPR

The winter storm hitting Connecticut is bringing "light, fluffy snow" to many parts of the state. Have you wondered what exactly makes the snow fluffy? 

David Silverman/Getty Images News / Thinkstock

The new year's first winter storm is threatening the state, and parts of Connecticut could get more than ten inches of snow.

Updated 11:30 p.m. ET

The Associated Press reports: "The National Weather Service said 21 inches of snow had fallen in Boxford, just north of Boston, by Thursday night, while other parts of the state had 17 or 18 inches. It said parts of upstate New York had 18 inches."

The New York Times reports:

"Bad news: Aurora couldn't get through. Tried twice. Low visibility & heavy ice. Returning to open water. Try again tomorrow?"

The crew and expedition leaders aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy are considering an air evacuation of the passengers on board the ship, which is stuck in Antarctic ice.

A massive post-Christmas package of precipitation is headed up the East Coast today. The storm is predicted to dump snow and ice from Boston on up and promises to vex residents already a week without power since the last winter storm.

The storm is carrying drenching rain through the Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic and southern New England during the day. The downpour will reduce visibility and make travel difficult, according to Accuweather.com.

Update at 8:20 p.m. ET. Amazon, UPS, Offer Refunds:

The Washington Post reports:

"Amazon and UPS said Thursday they would offer refunds to customers who did not receive their Christmas orders on time, after a surge in last-minute online shopping caught the shipping giant off guard."

Ice Storm Leaves Tens Of Thousands In The Dark

Dec 23, 2013

About 200,000 households are in the dark across the country, after a massive ice storm swept through Midwest and the Eastern Seaboard.

The Associated Press estimates that some 95,000 households are without power in New York, Vermont and Maine. MLive.com reports that 155,000 are without power in Michigan.

Flickr Creative Commons, imrambi

Motorists who fail to remove ice or snow from their vehicles will face possible fines beginning Dec. 31.

The so-called "ice-missile" legislation requires drivers to remove any "threatening" ice or snow from the hood, trunk, and roof of their car or face a $75 fine. Fines will be even higher if the ice or snow causes property damage. Non-commercial motorists could face a $200 to $1000 penalty for each offense. Commercial violators could be fined between $500 and $1200.

Winter won't officially begin for nearly two more weeks, but a winter storm continued to plow across much of the eastern part of the U.S. on Monday, bringing a dangerous mix of snow, ice and freezing rain. The storm knocked out power in some areas, fouled morning commutes and caused more than a thousand flights to be cancelled.

"Heavy snow fell Sunday in the Mid-Atlantic, with more than 8 inches reported in Philadelphia and a foot in nearby Newark, Del.," The Associated Press reports.

Winter Storm Moves Into Mid-Atlantic

Dec 8, 2013

Freezing rain has been creeping across Tennessee on its way to the mid-Atlantic as the stunning cold, snow and ice that gripped Texas and the west on Saturday advance eastward.

The storm is expected to turn Virginia and Pennsylvania into an icy mess today and scrabble north into New York and southern New England tonight.

Roads will be perilous in many places by this evening and forecasters warned travelers and holiday shoppers to stay home.

(This story was updated at 8:30 p.m. ET)

Wind-whipped freezing rain were moving through large parts of the nation on Friday, with the major winter storm blamed for a traffic death in Dallas and the deaths of four people from hypothermia in California.

The Associated Press says "more than a thousand flights have been canceled, football and basketball games postponed and holiday celebrations including town tree lightings and parades curtailed."

Tom Turley / AmeriCares

Stamford-based AmeriCares said it has shipped over $3 million in medical aid to the Philippines, with more to come. 

As I write this, snowstorms are swirling over the East Coast, threatening Thanksgiving holiday travel plans for millions of travelers. How much time in the purgatory of airports will this mean for you? Check out FlightAware's MiseryMap, which combines weather and flight data into a live map that lists which airports are being struck by storms, the number of delays and cancellations, and graphs that show flight destinations and the chances they'll actually make it on time.

Rain, sleet, snow and an estimated 43.4 million Americans traveling to be with family or friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mark Mirko / Hartford Courant

Typhoon Haiyan reportedly killed more than 4,000 people and affected millions more when it struck the Philippines nearly two weeks ago. Among those touched by the storm were Jack and Fe Shanahan, a Connecticut couple with a home in one of the heavily affected towns.

Matthew McDermott / Americares

Nearly two weeks ago Typhoon Haiyan, perhaps the strongest storm on record, ravaged the Philippines. Survivors in the hardest-hit parts of that island nation are still in need of the most basic supplies, like food, water and shelter. On Wednesday, Philippine officials estimated the death toll from the storm at 4,000.

Stamford, Connecticut-based AmeriCares has been in the Philippines since the day after the typhoon, delivering medical supplies, and helping to rebuild hospitals.

Jan Ellen Spiegel / WNPR

The state is opening two new disaster assistance centers on Wednesday to help residents who suffered losses during Superstorm Sandy. One is a mobile center, serving Middlesex County. The other will be located at the Groton senior center. 

Emergency aid workers are rushing this week to get food aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines — just the latest reminder of how vulnerable the food supply can be when disaster hits.

The physical damage from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is catastrophic. Hundreds of thousands of people are now homeless.

Soon, though, people will start to rebuild, as they have after similar natural disasters.

How they do it, and where, is increasingly important in places like the Philippines. The island nation lies in a sort of "typhoon alley," and with climate change and rising sea levels, there are more storms in store.

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