Storm Elliott: What is the polar vortex and how will this weather phenomenon affect large areas of North America?

Storm Elliott: What is the polar vortex and how will this weather phenomenon affect large areas of North America?

It’s not a simple seasonal cold, there’s talk of a storm. With an unstoppable march, an icy mass of air is moving menacingly across the northern part of the American continent. Coupled with a winter storm and Increasingly low temperatures in the region As a result of climate change, the ravages of the meteorological phenomenon known as the polar vortex arrive: a circular spectrum of icy winds and low pressure swirls over the North Pole, about 50 kilometers above the Earth’s surface; When it expands, it feels its air outside the North Pole.

at the moment, Almost two-thirds of the US populationWith more than 200 million inhabitants, they are still waiting for what will happen in the next few hours and the protection measures issued by the authorities. President Joe Biden asked to take the passage of the storm “very seriously” Elliot For Homeland “It’s not like the snowfall we used to see when we were kids,” he said at a White House news conference. But this phenomenon also affected other latitudes of the region. States in southern Canada have begun closing roads, schools, day care centers and offices due to the inclement weather that began on Thursday. Some arms of the polar air are expected to reach northern Mexican territory.

According to FlightAware’s real-time air travel page, nearly 2,200 inbound and outbound flights to the US were canceled Thursday. By this Friday, there are more than 3,400 and estimated cancellation numbers to increase due to flights scheduled for the weekend. Snow and rain storms have reportedly left more than a million people without electricity in the United States and Canada, which is a vital issue when relying on it to power home heating systems.

Steam from low temperatures fills Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, USA.
Maury Gash (AP)

What is it and how does it affect the polar vortex?

the The polar vortex It is a permanent phenomenon that occurs in the Arctic and when it expands, it causes storms and frosts below the pole. Air currents reach speeds of up to 240 kilometers per hour during the winter season. The northern hemisphere is the most affected by the transit winds left by the eddy during this season.

The North American Weather System states that it is normal for the polar vortices to release icy currents to the south during this time because the pressure drops, resulting in strong movements of icy air across the area that does not always touch the ground; Storms may drift into the Pacific Ocean or advance into the Atlantic Ocean.

How to protect yourself from the polar vortex

Weather systems expect Friday afternoon to be the coldest in the southern part of the United States, specifically in Texas and in mountainous areas in some northern Mexican states. Local authorities have begun warning citizens not to use coal heaters indoors due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. In addition, there is an appeal to remain calm in the face of this unit and to prepare for the effects of its passage.

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