Delaware sees snow and cold Friday

DOVER — Eight downstate school districts closed early Friday due to snow, and after-school activities, including sports, were canceled.

As of 4 p.m., most of the state below the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal had received around an inch of snow, although a few areas had only gotten a dusting, according to the Delaware Environmental Observing System.

Fortunately for individuals left half-frozen from the polar vortex (which is pretty much everyone who has ventured outside over the past few days), temperatures should begin rising today, potentially hitting 40 degrees and then surpassing 50 Monday.

Friday’s snow caused problems for some, with reports of cars getting stuck in the snow and traffic backed up, especially in Sussex County.

Snow began falling shortly in Dover after the sun rose and continued throughout the day, although it decreased in intensity as morning turned into afternoon.

The Delaware Department of Transportation began treating roads and bridges Friday morning as snow started coming down.

All of Delaware was under a winter weather advisory Friday, as was much of Maryland and parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The cold weather that plagued most of the United States in the second half of this week stemmed from the polar vortex, which the National Weather Service says is a “large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles” that often expands during the winter, sometimes sending cold air down to the United States. Notably, a blast of cold air from the polar vortex hit Delaware in 2014, with temperatures dipping into the single digits.

As the polar vortex gripped the First State this week, temperatures fell to the teens, slipping even lower at night.

The Midwest had it even worse, with temperatures approaching (or setting) record lows in some areas. In Chicago, the big chill meant it was even colder there than in Antarctica, reaching as low as -25 degrees Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

At least 21 people were reported to have died from the cold nationwide.

Staff writer Matt Bittle can be reached at 741-8250 or mbittle@newszap.com. Follow @MatthewCBittle on Twitter.

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