Why Is It So Cold

March 30, 2021

Why So Cold?

What’s causing the “wicked wintry weather” in so many parts of America?

(and why it matters wherever you live)

“Polar Vortex”

Cold temps partly to blame simply on winter… AND a phenomenon called the polar vortex:

  • The polar vortex = arctic air that normally hangs out around the poles; when unstable, it expands outward.
  • Polar vortex can bring frigid temps each winter for varying periods of time.
  • Not a new concept – polar vortex reportedly was first described in 1853.

Why It Matters
(Even If You’re Warm!)

  • Roughly half of America remains under some sort of winter weather advisory.
  • Emergency declarations in AL, OK, OR, KS, KY, MS, LA, TX; TX requested (& was granted) Federal Emergency Declaration for funding & resources.
  • Nationwide impact: weather has led to dangerous conditions, power outages, delayed travel and deliveries (including COVID-19 vaccine).
“Hundreds of daily low maximum and minimum temperatures have been/will be broken during this prolonged ‘polar plunge,’ with some February and even all-time low temperature records in jeopardy.”

National Weather Service on conditions that may break records dating back more than 100 years which marked “historic cold snaps of 1899 and 1905.”

The poor weather conditions are expected to last for the better part of the week. For context, The Weather Channel reports that there are currently more power outages in Texas due to the winter storm than occurred during the last major hurricane, Hurricane Harvey.

First Card:

The science behind a polar vortex:

by Jenna Lee,