A polar vortex is not like a hurricane or nor’easter that develops and goes away. A polar vortex is a normal feature that’s part of the North Pole. Maue explained in The Times that cold air normally forms at night where clear skies allows heat to escape into space. Maue says day after day a pool of cold air forms near the pole. If left to its own devices, the cold air stays up there.
Recently in the Midwest the U.S has been having deep freezes. Wind accompanied by cold came in at 30 degrees below zero as far west as Montana, as far east as New York, and as far south as Missouri. A polar vortex is very dangerous. It is so dangerous bare skin will freeze in five minutes. 5 NBC Chicago suggest things to consider ahead of this extreme cold weather.
• Stay in doors. If you must go out side you must wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing to protect yourself from the frigid air. A scarf to cover your mouth is also important to protect your lungs.
• Be aware of hypothermia. Watch for uncontrolled shivering, weak pulse, disorientation, incoherence and drowsiness, frostbite, grey, white, or yellow skin discoloration, and waxy feeling skin.
• In case the power goes out, have an emergency heating equipment in your home. flashlight, portable radio, and three days worth of food.
The polar vortex seen in Canada is astounding. Niagara Falls literally became a frozen statue. The cascading water turned to solid ice. The polar vortex is a jet stream of cold frigid Arctic air that plunged much of the United States into a deep freeze.
According to USA today the polar vortex is a blast of brutally cold air that’s been roaring across the central and eastern United States, sending temperatures to levels not seen in 20 years. This low pressure system usually wanders around the Arctic throughout the winter season. Occasionally the counterclockwise winds around the vortex pushes waves of intensely cold air into the United States.
The United States is under a deep freeze due to the fact that the core of the vortex’s bitterly cold air that’s typically over the Arctic, is now over the central and eastern parts of the United States. This phenomenon is short lived and temperatures will eventually rise to normal levels.
Because of an increased temperature contrast between the polar region and the mid latitudes, which includes the United States, the vortex is strongest only in the winter and as summer nears, it slows or disappears altogether.
This chilling cold air doesn’t actually leave the Arctic. The jet stream actually buckles forward to keep the United States extremely cold.
CBC News theorizes that global warming could be a reason the Arctic air leaves it normal domain. According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration scientists the polar vortex is winds that whip around the polar ice cap and trap earth’s coldest temperatures there.
According to NOAA, global warming may cause the vortex to deteriorate and bring cold air as far away as south to the continent of North America. According to Dr. James Overland of the NOAA, this could cause a warmer than normal polar region.
Can people get caught up in a polar vortex? No. It’s not a storm you can get caught in, but a cold temperatures that is very dangerous and you need to protect yourself by staying indoors when possible. If you must be outside, wear layered clothing, weatherize your home and car, etc.