Afternoon Coffee: Polar Vortex Disrupts Business as Usual Across Midwest; Foxconn Wavers on Wisconsin Plant

Record-breaking cold from a polar vortex has gripped the Midwest, closing businesses and schools as well as disrupting transportation, the Associated Press reports.

Even mail delivery in Chicago was halted Wednesday, and airports have canceled many flights, the AP reports.

The governors in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan declared emergencies, the AP reports, stating that the worst of the cold will be experienced Wednesday. But Chicago Public Schools already canceled school for Thursday.

The bitter cold is the result of a split in the polar vortex that allowed temperatures to drop much farther south than normal, the AP reports.

“In Chicago, temperatures were still dropping after plunging early Wednesday to minus 19 degrees (negative 28 Celsius), breaking the day’s previous record low set in 1966, though wind chills in northern Illinois made it feel as cold as negative 57 degrees (negative 49.4 Celsius),” the AP reports.

“Snowplows were idled overnight in southwestern Minnesota, where temperatures dropped to negative 29 degrees (negative 34 Celsius),” the AP reports. “And the temperature in Fargo, North Dakota, was 31 degrees below zero (negative 35 Celsius).”

For businesses worried about their supply chains, read these tips for winter and other extreme weather events.

Foxconn Wavers in Wisconsin

Foxconn Technology Group, which assembles the iPhone for Apple, said Wednesday that it is rethinking plans for its vast factory in Wisconsin, which gave record incentives to the Taiwan company, Bloomberg News reports, adding:

“There are no plans to scrap the facility but the company is considering what liquid-crystal display (LCD) technology is best suited for the $10 billion plant, Louis Woo, special assistant to Chairman Terry Gou, said on Wednesday.”

Apple released its earnings yesterday to mixed-to-favorable reviews, and Bloomberg reports that its share price climbed as Apple details life beyond the iPhone.

Fed Doesn’t Raise Rate

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that it has voted to not raise interest rates, and it struck an even-keeled tone about any raises this year, pledging to be “patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support” concerns about the slowing global economy and muted inflation signals, CNBC reports.

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