University of Iowa Freshman Among 20 Dead Amid Polar Vortex

At least 20 people have reportedly died as a result of the plummeting temperatures of the polar vortex, including an 18-year-old college freshman at the University of Iowa. According to The New York Times, Michael Belz was found unconscious outside a campus building just a short walk from his dorm room early Wednesday morning. He later died at a hospital, and is the latest in a series of deaths that have occurred due to the cold. Four men from Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan were reportedly found frozen near their homes, a woman was found frozen in her Milwaukee apartment after her thermostat reportedly “malfunctioned,” and others have died as a result of hypothermia, car crashes, and other accidents. According to the Times, temperatures reached the negative-thirties in Illinois, breaking records in Rockford and Moline. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the temperatures reportedly reached minus 30. An official cause of death has yet to be determined for Belz and University of Iowa police said their investigation is still ongoing, but Belz's father told the newspaper he believes his son's death was related to the cold.