Polar Vortex is Causing the Cold

What is a polar vortex? Why is it so cold? Well, now you can find all that out. Polar vortices are vicious masters of cold and only the fierce jet stream can stop it from spilling. What is this jet stream? Read and you will find out.

What is a Polar Vortex and Where is it Found?

A polar vortex is a large, whirling area of low pressure, found over both North and South poles. The polar vortex is semi-permanent and strongest in winter, weakening in the summer. But no worries, polar vortices have moved southward before, but this time it is being pushed as far south as the Great Lakes area! The Northern Hemisphere polar vortex rotates counterclockwise and is normally centered in Canada’s Baffin Island and over northeast Siberia. To help, experts advise people to stay home during the polar vortex and to keep your pets inside also.

Cold Temperatures

Experts say that this is the coldest outbreak in 20 years. States such as Alabama and Georgia are experiencing the coldest temperatures they have seen in years. Jeff Masters, director of meteorology for the website Weather Underground, agrees with this, saying that these are the lowest temperatures that his website has seen since January of 1994. A major cold outbreak like this in the east US can happen when the vortex in northeastern Canada is actually weak! But why is this happening? Well, high pressure in Greenland can stop the cold from extending east and force it south--this being called a “Greenland block”. Robert Oravec, a lead forecaster with the National Weather Service, says, “The atypical part about this weather pattern is that some of these really cold temperatures are going to be pressing into parts of the country that normally doesn’t see this type of magnitude in early winter.” Other experts say that the cold is being caused by cold air in Canada being pushed south. These cold temperatures can be found as far south as Florida! Low pressure in western Oklahoma is associated with the movement with the polar vortex, experts say.

Jet Stream

The jet stream, which normally blows east to west, separating the cold air in the north from the warm air in the south, has a kink in it. Consequently, this odd kink has allowed cold air in the north (Canada) to spill into the south (the US). Experts on this say that they haven’t seen this much of a kink in the jet stream in about 20 years. In addition, the shape of this kink is also very unusual.

There’s more to this polar vortex than meets the eye. It doesn’t just affect humans, but animals too. Dogs can lose their scent in the huge snowbanks and get lost. So what can you do to keep this from happening? You can keep your dog on a leash, or just keep it inside. You always need to know where they are. So what is this polar vortex? The polar vortex, master of cold, will stop at nothing and only the jet stream is able to hold it up.