Polar Vortex Hits Madison

The final days of January were bitter cold, to say the least. After two snow days that resulted in school cancellations, a powerful polar vortex drove a deep freeze across the nation, targeting the Great Lakes region and thus impacting Madison greatly. This wave of freezing temperatures led to three more days of no school, and many students felt as though they were experiencing winter break: part two.
A polar vortex is defined by CNN as a circulation of strong, upper-level winds that normally surround the northern pole, moving in a counterclockwise direction. On occasion, during the wintertime, the vortex can get distorted and will expand, sending cold air southward. This results in large outbreaks of Arctic air in areas such as Canada and the United States. This year’s polar vortex resulted in numerous record low temperatures. 75% of the continental U.S. experienced below-freezing temperatures that week, and wind chills dipped as low as 35-60 degrees below zero between Tuesday and Thursday in the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions.
Now that temperatures are back to normal, students are in school, and hard at work this third quarter. However, most are definitely looking forward to spring and the warmth it will bring!


By – Shruti Sathish

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