In case you missed it: Polar vortex descends upon Midwest, Northeast; Brutal cold kills dozens of children at Syrian refugee camp

kathryn.galimberti

Long-standing records were broken this week as the polar vortex sent brutal, dangerously cold air to the Midwest and Northeast. It was colder in parts of the Midwest than Alaska or Antarctica at times.

At least 16 people died amid the cold, according to the Associated Press.

"An entire generation has gone without by without experiencing this type of cold in the Chicago area," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll said.

The U.S. Postal Service suspended delivery service on Wednesday for Minnesota, western Wisconsin, Iowa and western Illinois to keep workers safe.

Polar vortex brings freezing conditions to Midwest

AP Photo/Garret Fischer

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Dan Eidsmoe

The Chicago tugboat, James J Versluis, attempted to open up the Chicago River following the arctic freeze on Jan. 31, 2019.

(AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Chicago's lakefront is covered with ice on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. Temperatures are plummeting in Chicago as officials warn against venturing out into the dangerously cold weather.

(AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

Ice covers the Chicago River Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago. A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures triggering widespread closures of schools and businesses.

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

A person walks along the lakeshore, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois.

(Photo/Dan Eidsmoe)

As the polar vortex sent extreme cold to the Midwest, Lake Michigan turned icy on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan before sunrise, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago. A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures.

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

A man poses for a picture as ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago. A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures on Wednesday.

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan before sunrise, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago.

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan before sunrise, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Chicago., Illinois.

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

A Metra train moves southbound to downtown Chicago as the gas-fired switch heater on the rails keeps the ice and snow off the switches near Metra Western Avenue station in Chicago, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

A Metra train moves southbound to downtown Chicago as the gas-fired switch heater on the rails keeps the ice and snow off the switches near Metra Western Avenue station in Chicago, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

(AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

A worker shovels snow off the rail switches at the Metra Western Avenue Yard, Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, in Chicago.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A warning sign is covered by ice at Clark Square park in Evanston, Ill., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

(AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)

Geese huddle in the water as the sun rises at the harbor in Port Washington, Wis., on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

First responders evacuate a person found in sub-freezing temperatures on the banks of Carter Lake, in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A tree is shrouded in fog at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Pedestrians bundle up in sub-freezing temperatures on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha, in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, Jan. 30. An arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

University of Nebraska students sip complementary hot chocolate as they wait in freezing temperatures to be admitted to Pinnacle Bank Arena for an NCAA college basketball game against Wisconsin, in Lincoln, Neb., Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Commuters braves the wind and snow in frigid weather, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Cincinnati. The extreme cold and record-breaking temperatures are crawling into a swath of states spanning from North Dakota to Missouri and into Ohio.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Commuters braves the wind and snow in frigid weather, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Commuters braves the wind and snow in frigid weather, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Cincinnati.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

A commuter braves the wind and snow in frigid weather, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Commuters braves the wind and snow in frigid weather, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, in Cincinnati. The extreme cold and record-breaking temperatures are crawling into a swath of states spanning from North Dakota to Missouri and into Ohio after a powerful snowstorm pounded the region earlier this week.

(AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)

Moorhead, Minn. area elementary school electronic sign shows cancellation of school because of frigid temperature Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. Daytime temperatures in the Fargo-Moorhead area were near -20F as Wednesday weather will be even colder.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A bank shows a closed sign in front of the door in Northbrook, Ill., Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures on Wednesday.

(AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Traffic moves along Milwaukee avenue in Wheeling, Ill. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019. A deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest with record-breaking temperatures on Wednesday.

Dan Eidsmoe

Streets were emptier than normal in Chicago as dangerous cold descended upon the city on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

(Photo/Dan Eidsmoe)

Steam rose off of Lake Michigan amid the intense cold on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019.

Strong winds that led to the dangerous subzero AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures also created blinding snow squalls from the Midwest to the Northeast and New England.

Throughout the cold snap, tens of thousands lost power in parts of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.

At least 100 firefighters were called into the cold when a fire at a paper factory in Elmwood Park, New Jersey, but the extreme conditions made it difficult to put out the blaze. No one was injured.

Reports said the fire engine water lines froze amid temperatures in the single digits. The fire destroyed the paper plant's iconic sign, in addition to much of the building, according to NJ.com.

Eventually, officials decided to let the fire burn out as firefighters couldn't combat it during the cold.

Just a day later in Newark, New Jersey, officials responded to another blaze after several cars caught fire at Newark Liberty International Airport.

In other cold weather news, a man had to be rescued after attempting to save his dog in a frigid lake, train tracks were intentionally set on fire, traffic lights froze in Philadelphia and "frost quakes" were heard across the country.

People also used the cold as a chance to experiment, from showing how boiling water can freeze instantly to putting a scene from "A Christmas Story" to the test.

Brutal cold gripped Syria as well this week, killing at least 29 babies and children in refugee camps, according to The Guardian.

The World Health Organization said thousands of people have descended on the camp after treacherous journeys, only to find improper shelter due to stretched resources.

Al-Hol, the name of the camp, has tripled in population size in the past two months.

Officials canceled classes at hundreds of schools in Bangkok, Thailand's capital, as air pollution grew to unhealthy levels this week.

According to the Associated Press, the city's governor declared a "pollution control zone," giving public officials legal rights to curb pollution levels. Those who ignore demands such as diesel exhaust limitations and construction activities could be hit with three months in prison.

Stagnant air and heavy traffic has led to the poor air quality, officials said.

"We decided to eliminate the problem by closing down the schools," Asawin Kwanmuang, the city's governor, said. "We're afraid that it can be dangerous for the children."

Snow blanketed parts of the United Kingdom this week, shutting down one of the country's biggest airports.

Manchester, in north west England, was hit with accumulating snow on Wednesday, halting flights at the city's international airport.

Snow-covered roads created travel mayhem and lengthy motorway delays. For one ski enthusiast in south Manchester, he come up with a different method of travel.


Flooding killed at least a dozen people this week in Saudi Arabia when downpours hit the western and northwestern part of the coutry.

More than 270 people were rescued from flooding, officials said in a statement, Al Jazeera reported.

Parts of Australia are in the midst of an enduring heat wave, baking Victoria and New South Wales.

This week, nearly 50,000 people in Sydney lost power during the intense heat, including an entire hospital, according to Al Jazeera.

Some people were reportedly stuck in elevators when the power went out.

Meanwhile, record-setting rainfall in led to widespread flooding, land slides, road closures and evacuations across Queensland.