Travelers who dared challenged the almighty polar vortex by attempting to travel from one part of the country to the other in below-zero temperatures and massive snow drifts have been stopped in their tracks, specifically their Amtrak train tracks.
Several reports have emerged of Amtrak passenger trains getting completely stuck due to the freezing temperatures in the Midwest. One train that departed from Chicago at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday was delayed by roughly nine and-a-half hours before it reached its final destination of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
A train from Detroit to Chicago was around eight hours late after the train's engines froze. And three trains headed to Chicago from Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Quincy, Illinois have been stuck 80 miles west of Chicago since Monday afternoon. It seems that the roughly 500 passengers on the train were set to be bussed to the city, or transported via a second train, as of this morning:
One passenger reported being finally in motion:
Some of the passengers were tweeting from the scene, and they were not happy:
Update: officially in motion back to the Princeton Station— jill (@jillDudds) January 7, 2014
Just got on the rescue train now just need to figure out how we're getting to Chicago. @Amtrak can you tell us??— Sarah Johnson (@sarahjoele) January 7, 2014
Omg another train is gonna pull up next to ours and we have to climb through the windows to the other train— jill (@jillDudds) January 7, 2014
Update: I will be suing Amtrak— jill (@jillDudds) January 7, 2014
Apparently, trouble was also brewing on the stalled train:
Been stuck on a train for about 12 hrs. It's been horrible. Amtrak needs to step their game up.— Chawley ✌ (@hiimcharlesh_) January 7, 2014
Update on the train ride from hell. Two people just got arrested #hour12— Sarah Johnson (@sarahjoele) January 7, 2014
People getting arrested, smoking weed and stealing the conductors phone. This has been an eventful Amtrak ride.— Chawley ✌ (@hiimcharlesh_) January 7, 2014
At least the scenery is beautiful:
A number of trains scheduled on similar routes have been cancelled to avoid a similar fate.
The polar vortex is causing more than just travel delays, however. According to Fox News, the weather is causing entire cities to shut down:
Many cities came to a virtual standstill. In St. Louis, where more than 10 inches of snow fell, the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Art Museum and St. Louis Zoo were part of the seemingly endless list of things closed. Shopping malls and movie theaters closed, too. Even Hidden Valley Ski Resort, the region's only ski area, shut down. School was called off Monday for the entire state of Minnesota, as well as cities and districts in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Iowa, among others. Chicago Public School officials reversed an earlier decision to keep schools open, announcing late in the day Sunday that classes would be canceled Monday.
Roughly 16,000 homes and businesses in Illinois and 2,000 in Missouri were without power on Monday. In Indiana, where Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said "The cold is the real killer here. In 10 minutes you could be dead without the proper clothes," 40,000 homes and businesses had no power on Monday.
Even Atlanta has ground to a halt, as the southern city is seeing its lowest temperatures in 40 years. The relatively balmy low of 6-degrees has shut down schools, buses, and trains.
The coldest weather should hopefully pass through by Wednesday. But until then, we recommend you stay inside, watch the Iggy Pop/Chevy Chase hit Snow Day, or read something cozy with a flashlight under the covers if you have no power. Stay warm!