Welcome to Polar Vortex 2019, which sort of sounds like a video game but is actually what’s causing the current ridiculously cold weather that’s hitting the U.S., especially in the midwest.
People in the Midwest and Great Lakes are seeing record-breaking wind chills from 40 to 65 degrees below zero this week. That’s so cold that bare exposed skin can get frostbitten in five minutes or less. That is some not kidding around cold.
The actual polar vortex is a whirling mass of cold air high up in the atmosphere in winter that usually stays over the North and South Poles (as the name suggests). Sometimes a piece of that Northern mass of air breaks off and heads farther south, which is what is happening now.
The polar vortex does seem to be moving around more often in recent years, which some (but not all) scientists say could be connected to global warming, according to USA Today. The hypothesis is that when warm air goes to the Arctic, some of the cold that’s supposed to stay there instead moves down into Europe and North America.
So be careful, stay warm, and just look at the weather the polar vortex is creating from the cozy comfort of the inside of your home.
How quickly the water freezes on this glass in Chicago from oddlysatisfying
— Heidi Miler (@HeidiMiler) January 31, 2019
Just to show you how cold it is, I soaked one of my dress shirts then hung it up outside.
— Jeff Peterson (@JeffWGME) January 31, 2019
— Slot-A (@IAMSLOTA) January 30, 2019
20 minute Snow Squall- white out conditions
#parkavenue #86thstreet #Centralpark #newyorkcity #snowsqualls #SnowSquallWarning #PolarVotex2019 @weatherchannel @lookner @breakingweather @JaniceHuff4ny @NY1weather pic.twitter.com/Tbf87v0y94
— Linda Santangelo (@Lindasantangel1) January 30, 2019
Someone in Minnesota had their toilet tank explode because the water inside froze 😬 pic.twitter.com/fCBLjDwChx
— mistress misandry (@hannahtraining) January 31, 2019
How cold is it in Chicago at the moment….? pic.twitter.com/U3wJnHZwFY
— Charles Croucher (@ccroucher9) January 31, 2019
It’s so cold in Cadillac…even the light posts are shivering! pic.twitter.com/LWGTuSLk60
— @MSPNorthernMI (@mspnorthernmi) January 30, 2019
— NWS Omaha (@NWSOmaha) January 31, 2019
It’s so cold in Chicago they set our commuter train tracks on fire to warm them pic.twitter.com/FT2erQ6pHT
— Mildly Interesting (@interest_mild) January 31, 2019
It’s so cold out. This is where my chickens are right now pic.twitter.com/sct3faE4fy
— Angela Harris (@AngelaH80003452) January 30, 2019
So cold in Thompson, MB today we froze our pants off 😂 pic.twitter.com/p1zHLJZQL2
— JuniperSpiritBears (@BearsSpirit) January 30, 2019
— Jacopo della Quercia (@Jacopo_della_Q) January 31, 2019
— BettinMax (@bettinmaxxx) January 30, 2019
— Van (@NessaCu) January 30, 2019
— Heather Hinam (@SecondNatureMB) January 30, 2019
— Anthony Garcia (@TiggyTime) January 30, 2019