Thousands Without Power During 'Historic, Life-Threatening Cold'
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, January 06 2014 @ 08:25 PM EST
AccuWeather Global Weather Center -- 6 January 2014 -- AccuWeather.com reports thousands remain without power Monday after a snowstorm stretched from the Midwest to the Northeast amid plummeting temperatures and wind chills as low as minus 60 F in some places.
Half of the United States was under a wind chill watch or warning from the National Weather Service Monday morning, with wind chill values 40 to 60 degrees below zero across the northern Plains and Midwest.
Wind chills lower than minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit can cause exposed flesh to freeze in only five minutes.
The National Weather Service has referred to the cold outbreak as 'historic and life-threatening', as temperatures near all-time cold records highs.
Thousands remain without power in the areas hit hardest by the storm.
In Indianapolis, more than 20,000 customers remained without power Monday morning.
A press conference was held at 11:15 a.m. EST, by the Indiana State Police, Department of Transportation, Governor Mike Pence and Indiana National Guard to address the winter conditions.
More than 27 counties in Indiana were declared under a state of emergency Monday afternoon.
Meanwhile, emergency response continues in Illinois, where RealFeel® temperatures are hovering between minus 40 and minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
In anticipation of the winter weather in Illinois, the state has extended hours of operation for more than 100 warming centers, six of which are located in Chicago. The centers are open to anyone in need of refuge from the frigid weather.
On Sunday, more than 11 inches of snow fell in Chicago, slowing road travel, and canceling thousands of flights.
The severe winter conditions prompted a press release from Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Monday.
"As we continue to monitor weather conditions and work nonstop to respond to this winter storm, we will ensure that critical state services continue," said Governor Quinn.
"To protect the safety of our employees and the people they serve, I am directing state employees whose duties are not critical to state services to stay home and off the roads on Monday."
Though the snow has stopped in Illinois, the state continues to face "a dangerous combination of low temps, black ice, & drifting snow," Quinn tweeted.
By Jillian MacMath, Staff Writer for AccuWeather.com