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Sioux Falls locked in Polar Vortex

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Sioux Falls, S.D. is locked into an Arctic weather pattern called a Polar Vortex.  (NOAA.gov)
Sioux Falls, S.D. is locked into an Arctic weather pattern called a Polar Vortex. (NOAA.gov)

Sioux Falls, S.D. (KELO AM) - Arctic temperatures have affected the nation from the Midwest to the eastern United States. Last Friday, the Governor of Minnesota canceled school for today and Sioux Falls schools followed suit yesterday.

“A Polar Vortex occurs when the Jet Stream buckles and the air flows North to South directly from the North Pole,” said Brad Temeyer, National Weather Service. “Wind combined with the air mass drives up the wind chill down to Arctic temperatures.”

“This is going to last until 6:00 am. Tomorrow morning and there are precautions that should be taken,” said Temeyer. “Frostbite can occur in five minutes when exposed to these temperatures. Anyone driving should also have a survival kit of snacks, a blanket, candles and water.”

Temeyer added, that there is relief on the way. Starting tomorrow it is going to start warming up and by the weekend, Sioux Falls may be back up into the 40s. There is also no indication that the Arctic air will be returning.

The next order of business is taking the proper precautions in your home. There are dangers under these conditions that aren't considered during other seasons of the year.

“A clean furnace filter is vital under any conditions and especially in these Arctic conditions,” said Mark Lamb, Frisbee Plumbing, Heating and Electrical. “A clogged filter doesn't move enough air and will quit heating all together. Also, don't use the setback part of your furnace during the Polar Vortex, leave your furnace at one temperature.

Lamb also cautioned to keep flammable objects away from your furnace. When your furnace is working so hard can create a lot of heat and the danger of boxes of clothes or anything else flammable is an unnecessary risk.

“A carbon monoxide detector is another necessary precaution on a home,” said Lamb. A damaged heat exchanger or any other damage can produce carbon monoxide and you need to be able to detect this deadly gas.”

“Water pipes aren't in too much danger in a well insulated home,” said Lamb. “As long as pipes are in the warm house, it isn't necessary to trickle water. A mobile home is a different consideration, and people should call a mobile home plumbing expert if they have doubts about their water pipes.”

“Your car deserves as much caution under extreme cold weather conditions,” said Russ Evans, Nordstrom's Installation and Diagnostic Center. “When you start your car, let it warm up before taking right off in it especially if it has been parked outside. Cars are made up of plastic and rubber parts and it's wise to warm them up to reduce damage.”

Evans cautioned to dress for the weather because a car that quits running will only take 15 minutes to cool down to dangerous temperatures. Using cautions with fuels are important especially cars that run on diesel. A car may start and get down the road, but gelled diesel fuel will not go through a car's system. 

“A battery is one of the first things that will let you down in extreme cold,” said Evans. “A good quality battery will start your car and keep it running better than a cheaper quality battery.”

Due to extreme cold weather, there are a number of closings in the KELO listening area. Please click on http://kelo.com/cancellations/ before venturing out into the Arctic cold. 

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