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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

The FRA Administrator’s Declaration of Emergency Event: Polar Vortex

Friday, February 12, 2021


Pursuant to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 211.45, Federal Railroad Administration Administrator (acting) Amit Bose has determined that the imminent threat of extreme cold, ice, wind, and severe winter weather in various parts of the United States constitute an “emergency event” as related to railroad operations.

In making this determination, the Administrator notes that the National Weather Service has determined Arctic air with frigid temperatures and dangerous wind chills continue to blanket the Central third of the U.S. The implications of dangerous cold temperatures, snow, and freezing rain may reach all the way to the Gulf Coast. Disruptions to logistical operations are expected, including power outages within the heaviest icing area, making railroad operations more challenging than usual during winter operations and potentially exposing railroad employees to dangerous conditions.

Therefore, the Administrator has activated the Emergency Relief Docket (FRA-2021-0001) for the Polar Vortex as of February 11, 2021, and the emergency relief provisions of 49 CFR § 211.45 are in effect.