Published on January 8th, 2014
What is a polar vortex and why does it affect the U.S.?
A polar vortex trapped in his grasp much of the United States and led to the rapid decline in temperatures and the onset of chaos.
A polar vortex is a circulating pattern of strong winds flowing around a low-pressure system that usually occurs during the winter in arctic areas. The effect of this is to maintain the vortex movement of the cold air in the polar regions.
However, when the vortex breaks down or splits in two, it can send cold air to the south.
Weather conditions created by the polar vortex were so severe that even the polar bears at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, were moved indoors when temperatures reached -26 degrees Celsius. Meanwhile, residents have been warned that the skin could freeze if you leave the house when the temperature dropped to -53 felt degrees Celsius.
Officials said that the temperature of -26 degrees Celsius at O’Hare International Airport broke the record from 1884 and equaled that of 1988. In Fargo, the largest city in North Dakota, there is -35 degrees Celsius.
Analysts estimate that 187 million people can feel the effects of “polar vortex”. So far, authorities announced HP at least 13 people died as a result of extreme conditions.
Extreme conditions produced in the polar vortex could cause temperatures to reach the lowest level this century. National Weather Service, U.S., estimates that temperatures will drop to 25-35 degrees below average for states such as Delaware, Washington DC, Maryland, New York, Virginia, Ohio and Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc. .
Some scientists believe that because of higher than average temperatures in the Arctic made the polar vortex weak, which affected areas at lower latitudes.
Polar vortex tends to become stronger in winter and summer lose its intensity. He also may be spread over a distance of about 2,000 kilometers, spinning counterclockwise around the North Pole. Such polar vortex occurs around Antarctica and is key to winter weather in the southern hemisphere.
The largest part of the United States and Canada continue to be affected by extremely low temperatures under the effect of a historic cold wave, so that the polar bear at the zoo in Chicago was moved to safety, according to AFP.
New York recorded the lowest temperatures for Tuesday January 7 in the last 100 years, but the most affected is the Midwest.
In Minnesota there have been minus 37 degrees Celsius, Tuesday’s record throughout the United States.
In Central Park in New York on Tuesday morning there were minus 15.5 degrees Celsius, previous negative record on January 7, dating from 1896, with minus 14.4 degrees Celsius. Minus temperature did not exceed 10 degrees Celsius all day in American cities, but it was felt as minus 22 degrees Celsius.
In total, under the effect of a polar cold wave moving eastward about 49 cities broke the frost record for January 7, including Philadelphia (minus 15.5 degrees Celsius) or Baltimore (minus 16.1 degrees Celsius).
Further south, Atlanta, where it was colder than Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city, has experienced temperatures of minus 14.4 degrees Celsius, shattering a record dating from 1970.
Maximum temperature was announced Tuesday in Chicago minus 14 C (minus 28 degrees felt like Celsius) and minus 7.7 degrees Celsius (felt like minus 12 degrees Celsius) in Nashville, Tennessee (south).
Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, even the most ordinary Canadians complain of cold and electricity shortages.
Almost everywhere in the United States authorities have warned people, stressing that, with gusts of wind, temperatures felt could be deadly.
“We ask residents to stay safe and follow the advice of local authorities”, said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
Over 500 passengers spent the night of Monday to Tuesday to three trains blocked by snow and ice near Mendota, about 120 miles west of Chicago, where temperatures were felt as minus 34 degrees Celsius.
Some governments have granted employees a day’s holiday. “I’ve asked the municipal considered nonessential employees to stay home”, said a spokeswoman for the municipality Milwaukee, on Lake Michigan, where the temperature dropped to minus 37 degrees Celsius.
About 50 people have died from the cold at the beginning of the year, including four men aged between 48 and 63 years died this weekend in Chicago, as a result of heart attacks. The body of a woman aged 90 years was found in the snow near her car in Ohio on Monday.