Polar Vortex Getting Ready to Ruin Your Day [Update: It’s Ruined]

By
Her eyes are so cold. Photo: null/Jin Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Do not be fooled by the balmy 55-degree temperatures in New York City this morning — it's about to get way worse. The nationwide "polar vortex," plus what is known in some ridiculous corners as Winter Storm Ion, is about to make everyone miserable. By lunchtime, it’ll be in the high thirties (rain is likely), according to the forecast, then it’ll be freezing, and by tonight, single digits. That’s about a 50-degree drop during the course of a single day. It could be worse.

You could be in North Dakota:

Or Michigan:

Last night, an Amtrak train from Detroit to Chicago froze in Kalamazoo, delaying passengers, who at least had heat, for nine hours:

To illustrate just how insane it is out there, watch what happens when meteorologist Eric Holthaus throws a pot of boiling water into the Wisconsin air, where the wind chill is down to -51 degrees (spoiler: it magically turns into snow):

As is, the city is facing a wind-chill advisory, a dense-fog advisory, a wind advisory, and an all-around "hazardous weather outlook," in the terminology of the National Weather Service. (Tri-state area, beware: "WIND CHILL VALUES ... AS LOW AS 20 BELOW ZERO IN ORANGE ... PUTNAM AND WESTERN PASSAIC COUNTIES ... AND 15 BELOW ELSEWHERE.") Already this morning, the subway was delayed as a result of weather, with the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, A, C, E, B, D, F, and M trains affected.

Diego Ramos, who is homeless and lives under nearby building scaffolding, pauses as he clears a sidewalk of snow in lower Manhattan following a snow storm that left up to eight inches of snow on January 3, 2014 in New York City. The major winter snowstorm, which forced New York City public schools to close and shut down the Long Island Expressway, is being viewed as a test for the new mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio. Dangerously cold temperates are predicted for the day and evening hours. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Freezing temperatures are expected in every state except Hawaii on Monday or Tuesday. Yes, even Florida, where 60 degrees is considered bone-chilling. The good news: By Wednesday night in New York, "near steady temperature in the lower 20s." Paradise, basically.

Update, 3:30 p.m.: As promised, temperatures have started to dive, and the consequences of not being able to go outside are reverberating.

For instance, air travel: "JetBlue announced Monday that operations at Boston, Newark, JFK and LaGuardia airports will be stopped entirely at 5 p.m. in an effort to catch up with dozens of weather-related delays and cancellations. Operations will begin to ramp up again at 10 a.m. Tuesday and the airline expects to be fully operational by 3 p.m. Tuesday." American Airlines has also canceled more than 900 flights.

Meanwhile, Chicago, where schools will remain closed through tomorrow, looks a bit like outer space:

And the people look thrilled:

Commuters make a sub-zero trek to offices in the Loop on January 6, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Temperatures in the city dipped to -16 degree Fahrenheit this morning on the heals of a polar vortex that has swept into the Midwest bringing with it dangerously cold temperatures not seen in the area in about 20 years. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images