This is the terrifying moment a pileup involving up to 30 crushed cars and jackknifed trucks is captured on dashcam in Michigan amid a deadly polar vo
This is the terrifying moment a pileup involving up to 30 crushed cars and jackknifed trucks is captured on dashcam in Michigan amid a deadly polar vortex which has already claimed the lives of 12 people across the United States.
The shocking footage taken from inside a truck shows the driver forced to swerve at the last minute to avoid the accident involving multiple vehicles on the I-96.
In the chaotic scene the bad weather makes it difficult to see the crash, forcing cars off the road just moments after drivers the destruction ahead of them.
The video was taken near Marne by Jason Coffelt Tuesday a day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Michigan. He misses other crashed vehicles by inches as he pulls his truck off road.
Amid the heavy snow and terrible driving conditions driver Dora Jenkins said she ‘was just praying at that point because everybody was nervous’. She told Fox 17: ‘I asked God to cover us.’
Dora, who was in the car with her children said: ‘The snow was coming down, the visibility was starting to get bad all at one time.’ Around a dozen families were taken to a local church with a few minor injuries reported.
Sgt. Michael VanDenBosch told The Grand Haven Tribune: ‘It was a disaster.’
The dashcam footage, pictured, taken near Marne by Jason Coffelt shows the terrible driving conditions drivers faced earlier this week amid a deadly polar vortex which has already claimed the lives of 12 people
Driver Jason narrowly misses plowing into a large stationary truck after visibility was severely reduced on the I-96
After passing the truck the dashcam shows a trial of destruction with up to 30 vehicles involved in the pile up
The footage shows crushed cars and jackknifed trucks and forced the closure of the highway for several hours a day after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency in Michigan
Around a dozen families were involved and taken to a nearby church as police labelled the crash ‘a disaster’
Jake Van Housen, another driver involved in the smash, said: ‘I had the choice, I was either going to hit this dude or I’m going to go off to the side into the snow bank.
‘As we were sitting there another car crashed into us from the back, the windows were still in tack, but then we had another car crash into us from the back. A truck.’
The highway was closed for several hours after the crash which is thought to have been one of many in the state as driving conditions deteriorated causing cars to slide off the road and smash into one another.
The deadly polar vortex has left at least 12 people dead, including a college student who was found in the freezing cold at the University of Iowa.
Authorities said the body of Gerald Belz was found behind an academic hall just before 3am on Wednesday by campus police.
The 18-year-old was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. While officials believe his death was related to dangerously low temperatures at the time he was found, officials have not given a specific cause of death.
The National Weather Service says the wind chill in Iowa around 3am was negative 51F degrees.
Belz’s family said their son was studying pre-med and that he had just graduated last May from Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School. His family told KCRG that doctors did not find alcohol in his system.
The painfully cold weather system that put much of the Midwest into a historic deep freeze is set to linger on Thursday but it is now pushing east and is forecast to lose some of its bite.
At its worst, the weather system caused temperatures to plunge to -42F on Wednesday in parts of the Midwest.
Disruptions caused by the cold will persist, including power outages and canceled flights and trains. The cold halted postal services across the Midwest on Wednesday and more than 2,000 flights were canceled and more than 3,500 delayed on Thursday.
The phenomenon caused surreal scenes throughout the region, including Lake Michigan freezing over, parts of Niagara Falls solidifying into frozen stillness and blocks of ice covering the river in downtown Chicago.
The deep freeze has also caused at least a dozen deaths since Saturday with some dying in weather-related traffic accidents and others from freezing to death due to apparent exposure to the cold.
The deadly polar vortex wreaking havoc across the US has left at least 12 people dead, including college student, Gerald Belz, 18, who was found in the freezing cold on the campus of the University of Iowa
Authorities said Belz was found behind an academic hall just before 3am on Wednesday by campus police. The 18-year-old was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Belz’s family (right) said their son was studying pre-med and that he had just graduated last May from Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School
The polar vortex in the Midwest has brought record-breaking low temperatures across the Midwest, halted postal services in five states and canceled more than 2,600 flights. Lake Michigan (above) became a huge mass of ice.
The polar vortex came on the heels of major Winter Storm Jayden that dumped up to a foot of snow on the region over the weekend and was to blame for at least five deaths. This driver in Milwaukee has the tough task of digging his car out of the snow.
Workers shovel at the entrance to City Hall in whiteout conditions during a winter storm in Buffalo, New York, on Wednesday
Chicago is seen from above after Lake Michigan froze over on Wednesday when temperatures plummeted
Two people died in Detroit, Michigan, after temperatures started plummeting late Tuesday as forecasters issued grave warnings that one of the coldest spells in history would be life-threatening.
Police found a man’s body across the street from his home in the Detroit area on Wednesday. He was not wearing a hat or gloves and wasn’t dressed for below-zero temperatures. A 70-year-old man was also found dead in Detroit in front of a neighbor’s home on Wednesday.
An 82-year-old central Illinois man died in the cold weather after authorities say he was found by a neighbor several hours after he fell trying to get into his home. A 55-year-old man froze to death in his Milwaukee garage after he collapsed shoveling snow, a man was fatally struck by a snow plow in Chicago, a nine-year-old died in an Iowa pile up and a young couple were killed when their SUV struck another on a snowy road in northern Indiana.
A prediction of warmer weather by the weekend offered little comfort to those enduring icy conditions, brutal winds and temperatures as low as -30F on Thursday.
Before the worst of the cold begins to lift, the National Weather Service said Chicago could hit lows early Thursday that break the city’s record of -27F set on January 20, 1985. Some nearby isolated areas could see temperatures as low as -40F. That would break the Illinois record of -36F set in Congerville on January 5, 1999.
‘This morning is some of the coldest of the temperatures across the upper Midwest and we still have some dangerous wind chills,’ Andrew Orrison, a forecaster for the National Weather Service, said.
In Minnesota and upper Michigan, temperatures will be at -20F on Thursday and parts of North Dakota can expect -30F.
The bitter cold was caused by displacement of the polar vortex, a stream of air that normally spins around the stratosphere over the North Pole but whose current was disrupted.
It pushed eastward and states including Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania were experiencing bitterly cold temperatures Thursday morning. Boston was at -5F, according to the National Weather Service.
‘This morning is the worst of the worst in terms of the cold,’ Orrison said. ‘It’ll be the coldest outbreak of Arctic air for the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast.’
A satellite image of the continental United States shows the extreme cold weather phenomenon called the polar vortex over the US Midwest and Great Lakes regions on Thursday morning
A woman braves the cold in Buffalo, New York on Thursday after a winter storm dumped feet of snow
Ice covers the Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago as the polar vortex wreaked havoc across the Midwest
Steam rises from Niagara Fall on Thursday after the brutal cold wave moved eastward after wreaking havoc on the Midwest
The James Versluis breaks ice on the frozen Chicago River near Navy Pier in Chicago as the city was gripped by the cold spell
The blast of polar air that enveloped much of the Midwest on Wednesday closed schools and businesses and strained infrastructure with some of the lowest temperatures in a generation. The deep freeze snapped rail lines, canceled hundreds of flights and strained utilities.
Crews in Detroit will need days to repair water mains that burst on Wednesday and other pipes can still burst in persistent subzero temperatures.
Schools in parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois and Iowa remained closed on Thursday. But students headed back to school in eastern North Dakota, where the weather was forecast to crawl out of double-digit sub-zero temperatures.
Temperatures are expected to bounce back into the single digits on Thursday and into the comparative balmy 20s by Friday across parts of the Midwest.
In the Northeast, people braced themselves for the cold with temperatures plunging to -5F in Boston, 3 degrees in Buffalo, New York, 5 degrees in NYC, 8 degrees in Philadelphia and 3 degrees in Portland, Maine for the early morning commute.
In comparison, temperatures plunged to as low as minus 42F in Park Rapids, Minnesota, minus 31F in Fargo, North Dakota, minus 27F in Minneapolis and minus 25F in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on Wednesday.
Chicago dropped to a low of around -23F. Wind chills in northern Illinois made it feel as cold as negative 57F.
The painfully cold weather system that put much of the Midwest into a historic deep freeze was expected to ease Thursday, though temperatures still tumbled to record lows in some places
Ice forms on tree branches as New York firefighters battle a blaze in Brooklyn on Thursday morning
Record-breaking low temperatures causes ice to cover the Chicago River (pictured) on Wednesday
Firefighters at the scene of a house fire on Wednesday in St Paul, Minnesota, as temperatures plunged across the Midwest
Ice flows down the Allegheny River toward the Ohio River in Pittsburgh on Wednesday as dangerously low wind chills closed many area schools and government offices
Temperatures in parts of the Midwest were lower Wednesday than in Antarctica, where the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station hit -25F.
The extreme weather conditions headed for the East Coast late Wednesday as it triggered widespread closures of hundreds of schools and businesses from North Dakota to Pennsylvania.
New Yorkers experienced a sudden snowstorm Wednesday afternoon and forecasters expected wind chills to be between -10F and -20F on Thursday morning.
The MTA said they would activate warming devices throughout their system to keep switches warm on all Long Island Rail Road and Metro North Railroad lines. LIRR stations said they would also keep waiting rooms open 24 hours a day Wednesday through Saturday.
In New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy warned residents to plan for icy roads and potential blackouts.
Forecasters in western New York warned of blizzard-like conditions over the next few days with up to two feet of snow, plummeting temperatures and wind chills that can cause frostbite within minutes.
In advance of the Great Lakes-fed storm, authorities closed schools in Buffalo and surrounding districts for Wednesday and Thursday and the state announced a ban on tractor-trailers and buses from the New York State Thruway. The ban between Rochester and the Pennsylvania border took effect at 8pm Tuesday.
A cold emergency was declared in Washington, D.C., with additional services put on for the homeless.
The James Versluis breaks ice on the frozen Chicago River on Wednesday in Chicago
People walk along Lake Michigan’s frozen shoreline as temperatures dropped to -20F on Wednesday in Chicago
Ice and snow builds up along Lake Michigan in Chicago on Wednesday as the Midwest is gripped by one of the coldest spells in history
Ice forms along the shore of Lake Michigan before sunrise on Wednesday as record-breaking temperatures hit
Ice and snow builds up along Lake Michigan in Chicago as temperatures plunged to record lows on Wednesday
Ice is seen on the side of the Great Falls National Historic Park as a couple takes in the sights during a frigid winter day in Paterson, New Jersey, on Wednesday
Drivers navigate their way through downtown St. Joseph, Michigan, on Wednesday as temperatures reached minus 40F
A warning sign is covered by ice at Clark Square park in Evanston, Illinois, as a deadly arctic deep freeze enveloped the Midwest
A firefighter walks past an ice-encrusted home after an early morning house fire on Wednesday in St. Paul, Minnesota
Ice floats down the Missouri River in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday where wind chill warnings were issued
The freezing conditions made it difficult for firefighters to battle various infernos, including one at a New Jersey toilet paper plant late Wednesday.
‘It’s freezing,’ Elmwood Park Police Chief Michael Foligno said. ‘Firefighters are dealing with water on their faces and on their hands. It’s spraying all over you. Regardless of your equipment, it impacts you and slows you down.’
Amtrak also axed all trains into and out of Chicago on Wednesday and most services to or from Chicago on Thursday. Crews had to set rail tracks on fire to keeps trains moving smoothly on Tuesday.
Well over 2,500 flights were canceled on Wednesday, largely out of Chicago O’Hare and Chicago Midway international airports, according to flight tracking site FlightAware.
The US Postal Service also took the rare step of suspending mail delivery to parts of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, the Dakotas and Nebraska on Wednesday because of the dangerous Arctic blast.
The bitter cold was the result of a split in the polar vortex , a mass of cold air that normally stays bottled up in the Arctic. The split allowed the air to spill much farther south than usual.
In fact, Chicago was colder than the Canadian village of Alert, one of the world’s most northerly inhabited places. Alert, which is 500 miles from the North Pole, reported a temperature that was a couple of degrees higher.
Governors in Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan all declared emergencies as officials in dozens of cities focused on protecting vulnerable people from the cold, including the homeless, seniors and those living in substandard housing.
Hundreds of warming centers were opened for vulnerable residents such as seniors, buses were employed as mobile warming spaces, and shelter capacities were increased for the homeless, including the approximately 16,000 living on the streets of Chicago.
An anonymous good Samaritan paid for hotel rooms for 70 homeless people living in tents in Chicago until the cold subsides.
In Michigan, state and utility officials warned residents that they risked brief interruptions of natural gas service if they didn’t help reduce energy. The warning followed a fire at a utility’s suburban Detroit facility that affected natural gas supplies.
An emergency alert was sent late Wednesday to cellphones asking people to lower thermostats to 65 degrees or below through Friday. Michigan Govenor Gretchen Whitmer asked everyone to ‘to do your part.’
Aside from the safety risks and the physical discomfort, the system’s icy grip also took a heavy toll on infrastructure, halting transportation, knocking out electricity and interrupting water service.
Ten diesel-train lines in the Metra commuter network kept running, unlike the electric lines, but crews had to heat vital switches with gas flames and watched for rails that were cracked or broken. When steel rails break or even crack, trains are automatically halted until they are diverted or the section of rail is repaired.
A track in the Minneapolis light-rail system also cracked, forcing trains to share the remaining track for a few hours.
Nichole Mazola, 30, walks south on Sassafras Street near West 16th Street in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday
First responders evacuate a person, found in sub-freezing temperatures, on the banks of Carter Lake in Omaha, Nebraska, on Wednesday
A man tosses hot water into the freezing cold air by Lake Michigan in Chicago on Wednesday
The frozen Arctic winds brought record-low temperatures across much of the Midwest on Wednesday. Pictured above is Lake Michigan in Chicago on Wednesday
Ice covers the Chicago River on Wednesday as the city copes with record-setting low temperatures
A man moves his luggage through the snow covered streets in Buffalo, New York, on Wednesday
Pedestrians bundle up in sub-freezing temperatures on Wednesday on the University of Nebraska-Omaha campus
In Detroit, more than two dozen water mains froze. Customers were connected to other mains to keep water service from being interrupted, according to a Detroit Water and Sewerage spokesman.
Most mains were installed from the early 1900s to the 1950s. They are 5 to 6 feet underground and beneath the frost line, but that matters little when temperatures drop so dramatically.
On a typical winter day, the city has five to nine breaks, with each taking about three days to fix. But those repairs will take longer now with the large number of failures to fix.
The unusually frigid weather is attributed to a sudden warming far above the North Pole. A blast of warm air from misplaced Moroccan heat last month made the normally super chilly air temperatures above the North Pole rapidly increase.
That split the polar vortex into pieces, which then started to wander, said Judah Cohen, a winter storm expert for Atmospheric Environmental Research.
One of those polar vortex pieces is responsible for the subzero temperatures across the Midwest this week.
Dozens of cars were involved in a chain-reaction crash on a central Pennsylvania highway after a snow squall caused whiteout conditions on Wednesday
Pictured above is a view of Lake Michigan from Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Wednesday as a large swath of the Midwest is experiencing some of the worst cold weather conditions in decades
Pigeons huddle together in the snow during a winter storm in Buffalo, New York, on Wednesday
Geese huddle in the waters as the sun rises in the harbor in Port Washington, Wisconsin, on Wednesday morning