The Polar Vortex

ThePolar Vortex

Severeweather conditions entail any dangerous or adverse meteorologicalphenomena which can probably cause loss of life, social disruptionsamong others. The kinds of adverse weather phenomena vary inaccordance to altitude, topography, atmospheric conditions andlatitude. This paper will look to outline the effects of severeweather conditions on the life of humans. By establishing affectedindividuals among them my family members, the paper will elaboratethe impacts of adverse weather conditions on them.

Thepolar vortex presents a good instance of adverse weather condition.The polar vortex is a huge pouch of extremely cold air, regarded asthe coldest atmosphere within the Northern Hemisphere that sits abovethe polar area. Sporadically, this cold air tends to move furthersoutherly than normal hence impacting on parts of U.S. and Canada. Itoccurred in the year 2014 between January and April in the Easternparts of the U.S. and Canada. It involved an unusual cold winter withrecord low temperatures.

InJanuary 2014, an arctic cold face braced Canada and the U.S. causingheavy snowfall and decrease in temperatures to some unprecedentedlevels. As a matter of fact, the temperatures were considered thelowest ever the area has ever experienced. The types of cloudsassociated with this incident were mostly the low clouds of stratus.Stratus generally involves gray cloud layers having a uniform base.Thick enough layers normally produce ice prisms, snow grains ordrizzle. In this aspect, the stratus clouds were quite thick anddense resulting to severe coldness. The clouds were heavy,temperatures quite low with heavy snow falls. All this began due torapid stratospheric warming that led to the collapse of usual polarvortex and the consequent southward motion of the tropospheric arcticair. The outcome was considerable winds in which air masses mixedproducing a chilly effect that worsened the cold temperatures.

Thiskind of weather is not so common across the Eastern sides of U.S. andCanada. The rapid warming of the stratosphere is mostly associatedwith global warming since it is not a usual thing. The fact that itwas a new experience around this place implies the global warmingeffect that leads to new weather patterns across the globe. Globalwarming has been associated with many other adverse weather patternssuch as the 2014 drought in Brazil, Mount Everest avalanche, Kashmirfloods, and California drought among others. Though meteorologistshad predicted adverse weather conditions, the extent to which theyhappened was somehow impulsive. The event was even listed as one ofthe most unusual weather condition in the year 2014 with temperaturesdropping as low as -37 degrees across the eastern States [ CITATION Ale14 l 1033 ].

Meteorologistsused satellite images to show the adversities of this weatherconditions. They predicted a cold winter across these States but didnot affirm the extent. According to the families who experienced thecold, they felt a little bit misinformed or rather had limitedknowledge on the extent of the event. They were not well prepared todeal with the situation. In their own opinion, they had neverexperienced such coldness during winter.

Figure1: satellite images of the adverse winter conditions

Theeffects of the weather were felt across all the States within theEastern U.S. and Canada. The number of people affected was estimatedto be roughly 240 million. It led to closure of schools, localgovernments, businesses as well as roads. Additionally, flights wouldfrequently be cancelled for safety purposes. According to theaffected residents, life was brought to a standstill. Walking in thestreets was deemed impossible with many roads rendered impassible.School going kids were also prevented from doing so. Schools had toclose due to lack of students. Management also thought it wise to letthe students stay at home for their own safety. Businessesexperienced losses since they could not perform their dailyendeavors. To counter the effects, residents had to stay indoors,trying all means such as lighting fires to keep warm. The clothingdesigns also changed considerably with most of them opting to remainin heavy clothing.

Anothergroup that was affected considerably was travelers. Huge snow fallsrendered roads impassable. Additionally, huge fogs could not allowplains to take off. A sect of tourists who were caught up in thecondition had to remain there for some time. Electric trains weredeemed the best means of transport during this time.

Asdescribed above, weather can be considered to be severe if it leadsto loss of life, social disruptions among others. In this case, theevent led to massive loss of social life. According to theindividuals who experienced the event, they could not perform theirroutinely duties without taking into consideration the weathercondition. In some aspect, soccer matches had to be cancelled orpostponed due to either poor pitches or poor travelling conditions.The adverse weather system was also felt across some Europeancountries. Therefore, the polar vortex can be considered as one ofthe severest weather condition to have ever graced Canada and theEastern parts of U.S. As the residents felt, this condition wasimpossible to imagine though it happened during winter.


Sosnowki, A. (2014, November 8). Polar vortex. Retrieved October 22, 2015, from Polar vortex: