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Weather wrath: Floods in Australia, Snow in US

Residents of Australia suffer due to floods following torrential rainfalls while as Polar vortex current disruption created chaos in the US Midwest.

'Once in a century event happening here'

'There could be thousands of homes affected by the flooding,' Queensland state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said in an interview on Australian Broadcasting Corp TV, 'Once in a century event happening here', he added.

(Photograph:AFP)

Up to 20,000 homes at risk

A record 1.16 metres (3.8 ft) of rain has fallen across the Townsville area over the past seven days, with another 100 millimetres expected to be dumped over the area.

Major flood warnings have been posted for several rivers.

Up to 20,000 homes are at risk of being inundated if the rains continue, Bureau of Meteorology officials said.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Crocodiles on Streets

The Townsville Bulletin said it had received reports of several saltwater crocodile sightings in the flood-ravaged area.

More than 1,100 people have called the emergency services for urgent help.

(Photograph:Reuters)

'Dangerous and high velocity flows' 

The weather bureau warned of 'dangerous and high velocity flows' along the Ross River after the flood gates were opened fully at the Ross River dam on Sunday, releasing about 1,900 cubic metres of water a second.

Even after the release, the dam was still at 229 percent capacity, holding about 532,000 gigalitres of water, or roughly as much as Sydney Harbour.

(Photograph:AFP)

-25 degrees Fahrenheit

The US Midwest and Northeast were braced for dangerous subzero temperatures, as the polar vortex was set to blast arctic conditions unusually far south.

The system was set to extend from the Dakotas through New England, with Chicago expecting temperatures to plunge as low as -25 degrees Fahrenheit. 

More than 600 flights into or out of Chicago O'Hare International Airport were cancelled and nearly 300 flights were delayed, according to FlightAware.com. 

The service's Des Moines, Iowa, branch said 'dangerous, life-threatening cold air' will hit the Midwestern state 
 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Bone-chilling cold Killed 18 people

The bone-chilling cold that paralysed a chunk of the United States and killed at least 18 people eased now as an errant Arctic air mass retreated ahead of a warmer-than-normal weekend in areas of the Midwest and Northeast.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Frostbite scare

Cable worker Brian Stachovic said he was on electrical pole for only five minutes on Thursday before his fingers and toes went numb, and he had to go inside to avoid frostbite.
 

(Photograph:Reuters)

What is Polar vortex

The Midwest's worst cold snap in two decades was created by the polar vortex, a reservoir of icy air that usually swirls over the North Pole.

Shifting air currents caused it to slip down through Canada and into the US Midwest this week.

Polar vortex refers to the upper-level jet stream that typically circulates around both the North and South Poles, keeping the coldest air there.

(Photograph:Reuters)

22F 'feels like spring' after days of brutal cold

In Chicago, where the mercury dipped as low as minus 22 Fahrenheit (minus 30 Celsius) this week, temperatures of 22F (minus 5.5C) afternoon felt balmy for some in the nation's third-largest city.
 

(Photograph:Reuters)

'Records were broken'

More than 40 cold-temperature records were broken, the coldest morning since the polar vortex moved, clinging to a swath of the United States from Iowa and the Dakotas across the Great Lakes region and into Maine.

(Photograph:Reuters)

'Warming centers for the homeless'

Over 80,000 people are considered homeless in Chicago, according to the Chicago Coalition of the Homeless.

Chicago opened two 24-hour warming centres and extended hours for two more. It designated five city buses to act as overnight warming centres for the homeless. 

 

(Photograph:Reuters)