The headline grabbing Polar Vortex is not just a slick name; this piece of air moving south from the polar region could very well set new records for low temperatures across the country, even the south.
CNN Meteorologist Alexandra Steele calls this winter catastrophe, “A piece of a polar vortex, the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere.” And it is coming in the direction of millions of Americans. 140 million people to be exact.
Some areas may see the coldest temperatures they have ever experienced in more than 20 years. This arctic cold front looks like it may hit the Great Lakes and eastern Plains regions of the United States the hardest but it is not stopping there. The South is also at extreme risk to experience some of the backlash from this so called polar vortex.
In the areas surrounding the Great Lakes and the Plains the polar vortex will drop heavy snow, maybe even a whole foot, but it will also put the area into a deep freeze. The temperature in areas like these could be as far as 50 degrees below their average seasonal expectancy. This deep freeze may also affect areas of the Upper Mississippi Valley.
The polar vortex’s record setting temperatures are not reserved for the North, however, even the South will most probably endure some pockets of single digit temperatures. According to CNN some areas of the South could see temperatures below zero. Sound hard to believe? Believe it, there have already been as many as 13 deaths related to this cold weather.
The weather is affecting everything and anything that takes place outside, from O’Hare airport to the NFL playoff match-up between the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers. O’Hare has already cancelled a large amount of flights, nearly 1,100, which is part of a nationwide trend where more than 2,200 flights have been cancelled. In New York at the John F. Kennedy International Airport a Delta flight from Toronto caused the airport to shut down service for more than two hours.
For Packer’s fans things are not as simple as just routing on your team Sunday. The temperature is supposed to be around zero with a wind-chill ten to fifteen degrees below that.
The polar vortex may reach as far as Alabama and plunge that area into single digits. Some meteorologists even believe that Alabama could see subzero temperatures. One particularly scary prediction comes from Meteorologist Alexandra Steele. She predicts that the temperatures in places like Atlanta and Tennessee will be colder than Anchorage Alaska. Apparently the polar vortex heard all about southern hospitality and is on its way to become acquainted.
Minnesota on the other hand is looking at temperatures so cold that residents could experience frost bite in as little as five minutes. Of the 13 people who have died over the past week, eleven were involved in road accidents and two died from being exposed to the cold.
The polar vortex seems to be every bit as threatening as its name implies it is. Officials are urging residents to help one another out through these conditions and to do more than just check on loved ones. People must brace themselves for the cold as the polar vortex may set record lows in temperature across the country, even in the Deep South.
By Nick Manai