Polar Vertex: Understanding the unexpected wrath of mother nature

Nabin Bista
Staff Writer

The Midwest is quite well known for harsh winters, freezing cold and snow blizzards. However, this was not the case this week, as the first month of the year comes to an end, mother nature’s little gift had been awaiting to unravel and surprise us.

Tuesday till Thursday had been a major change in weather, or should I say, wind chills from Antarctica came to visit us and wanted us to relax in our cozy bed wrapped up in warm blankets. Weather report said that one could almost get frostbite in a matter of minutes, which led to the shutdown of schools and offices throughout the Midwest. 

While it was good news for students who prefer “Netflix and chill”, it was an unfortunate one for parents and workers. 

This weather pattern is not something new and lot of us are quite familiar with such weather conditions. The last time a polar vortex hit the Midwest was in 2014.

However, to those who could be almost crying in regrets, mostly international students unaware of harsh winters in Minnesota, do not panic; there is heating inside your home. Regardless of the weather, our bus drivers are still driving shuttle buses, and school begins as the weather gets back to normal. 

As far as the technical aspects of weather goes, a polar vortex is an upper level cold air surrounding and native to both the poles. Air weakens during summer and strengthens on winter. Air flows in an anti-clockwise direction, which makes the wind remain on the poles all the times. 

So, what happened in the last few days was that the polar vortex started to expand in such a way that it travelled southward, which happens frequently during winter time, sending severe wind chills and resulting inn extremely low temperatures.

Polar vortex is not a natural disaster like hurricanes, or tornados. It’s an undeniable virtue of mother nature just passing by.

Feature photo by Mansoor Ahmad | MSU Reporter.

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