Polar vortex puts freeze on Hong Kong deliveries to US

Ice builds up along the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago as temperatures during the past two days have dipped to lows around -28 degrees Celsius. Photo via AFP.

It may be a balmy 16 degrees Celsius outside in Hong Kong today, but make no mistake, not even the SAR can escape the the frigid maw of the polar vortex currently wreaking havoc across America’s Midwest.

The city’s postal service, Hongkong Post, announced yesterday evening that “due to the impact of extremely cold weather, the postal administration of the United States has suspended mail delivery services to some areas.” As such, the service notified customers that it had suspended all mail deliveries to scores of ZIP codes across 10 states, including Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin “with immediate effect until further notice.”

The “extremely cold weather” in question has seen temperatures plummet across a large part of the United States, with one Minnesota community registering a low of -48 degrees Celsius, according to the Washington Post.

And while death tolls are still in flux, the New York Times reports that the weather system is already being blamed for more than 20 fatalities.

So, in the grand scheme of things, having your mail delayed is maybe not such a huge deal.

The “polar vortex” refers to a mass of cold air that flows counterclockwise around the earth’s poles, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Occasionally, this mass of air becomes unstable and expands, sending frigid air south and creating the conditions for extreme cold snaps.

But there could be good news in store for Hongkongers with urgent deliveries to make: according to NPR, forecasters are predicting that temperatures in much of the Midwest should begin returning to a comparatively toasty -9 Celsius or so, with temperatures continuing to rise in the following days.

At that point, the frigid arctic air will recede back into Canada, where it’s supposed to be cold as hell all the time.


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