An Arctic freeze has been sweeping across North America, bringing temperatures as low as -40C (-40F) with wind chill in some cities.
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As a "polar vortex" from the Arctic makes its way through parts of the United States, communities in northern areas of the country and regions not used to extreme cold may be caught by surprise today.
Here are 13 suggested items compiled by Consumer Reports and Outside Magazine's executive editor Sam Moulton that even the most experienced winter outdoor enthusiasts could benefit from to survive and remain comfortable in extreme weather. Lodestar gloves by Outdoor Research ($89) are recommended by Outside for backcountry activities. Outside Magazine recommends its share of gloves, but sometimes you need to let your thumbs do all the work. Outside magazine included the Marmot Isotherm jacket ($200) in its list of "best new insulated jackets," for its "exceptional breathability." The jacket is best for moving quickly, Outside says.
Moulton said Outdoor Research's men's transcendent sweater ($189) is a great, lightweight and packable down jacket.
Consumer Reports recently published a guide to buying the right snow shovel for each consumer's needs.
Snow shovels aren't brand oriented, said Peter Sawchuck, test program leader for home improvement at Consumer Reports. For example, shovels with "ergonomic" handles that are bent may actually be harder to handle because they must be used in only one specific angle.

If you're just pushing snow, it's best to use a wider based shovel and a more narrow shovel works if you are lifting snow off a patio or deck, for example. The magazine tests the snow shovels in arduous conditions when it analyzes its snow blowers -- that is, with seven tons of wet sawdust. Sure, it's a simple tool, but with some elbow grease, an ice scraper can remove a thick layer of ice from a car windshield. Moulton says he has seen many recent football spectators wearing these on their heads or necks. The arrival late on Monday of the arctic weather pattern caused temperatures to plummet overnight in New York and Washington DC by as much as 45 degrees in a matter of hours, from unseasonably warm highs a day earlier.New York Governor Andrew Cuomo closed parts of major highways across his state in preparation for the extreme weather. On Tuesday, the extreme weather caused the cancellation of 2,500 flights, along with widespread road and rail delays.JetBlue Airways operations, which had been suspended at airports in Boston and around New York City, were returning to normal.
Politicians' leadership abilities should not be judged on the state of their personal finances, ex-Tory leader William Hague says. What are the risks of extreme cold and how can you avoid them, asks Aidan Lewis.Plummeting temperatures and icy winds present two main dangers. Consumer Reports recommends the Kohler 14RESAL generator, which has a hefty price tag of $3,700 before installation, but it includes a transfer switch.
Though the cost may seem steep at $1,500, Sawchuck said it will likely last 15 to 20 years or so.
More than 500 passengers on their way to Chicago were stuck overnight in northern Illinois on three Amtrak passenger trains after drifting snow and ice covered the tracks.

Hypothermia, in which your body shuts down after reaching an abnormally low temperature, and frostbite, an injury to the body caused by freezing. If you're traveling in frigid temperatures, make sure your rental car includes an ice scraper.
1,000 in Newfoundland were still without power on Tuesday amid the freezing temperatures and snow. This is most common on extremities such as fingers and toes, but can affect eyelashes.Sitting out a cold snap indoors, with plentiful stocks of food, water and medicine, is one solution. Chicago, where temperatures dropped to -27C (-16F), was extending the opening hours at warming centres across the city. The polar blast was threatening crops and livestock across the American farm belt, even in the usually temperate Deep South. Tyres can freeze solid, which makes for a bumpy start to a journey but is unlikely to damage them, says Stone. But those still needing to make essential trips are advised to wear several layers of loose fitting clothing, with a wicking layer at the base that won't leave moisture on the skin, and a tightly woven outer layer. Hand or foot warmers can be placed inside a glove or inside a boot, though these may not heat the tips of fingers or toes.Goggles or glasses can help keep the temperature around the eyes stable, says John Stone of Survival Systems in Halifax, Canada, though eyelashes are only likely to freeze together if they're wet.

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Rubric: Business Emergency Preparedness


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