Much of the country experienced an extreme cold spell last week. The weather forecasters called it a polar vortex and depending on where you lived, it swept through with a fury between January 5th and 8th.
I’m sure you’ve heard all the meteorological explanations on the news for yourself, but here’s the way Scientific American recaps it:
“The polar vortex is a prevailing wind pattern that circles the Arctic, flowing from west to east all the way around the Earth. It normally keeps extremely cold air bottled up toward the North Pole. Occasionally, though, the vortex weakens, allowing the cold air to pour down across Canada into the U.S., or down into other regions such Eastern Europe.”
During the vortex, the daily temperatures being reported in Minnesota and the Dakotas were truly mind-boggling – 20 to 30 degrees below zero! Where I live in Atlanta, we had a record low of 6 degrees, combined with an extended freeze where it didn’t go about 32F at all for several days, which is unusual here. Continue reading