This Tuesday, November 12th, America is falling victim to one of the biggest nation-wide Arctic blasts we’ve seen in years. According to USA Today over 200 million Americans all across the country are struggling to face the freezing forecast and endure the giant mass of Arctic air moving across the states. It’s been reported that thousands of flights were canceled leaving many stranded, and other areas have seen more than a foot of snow in their neighborhoods already! It’s surely looking like it’s going to be a white Christmas if winter continues at this intense rate.
The Arctic Air mass began in the West and freezing cold temperatures have been reported from the Canadian border all the way down to the Southernmost tip of Texas, as the mass continues to move and hit the East Coast later Tuesday evening. Chicago saw the beginning of the blast when they woke up this morning to temperatures in the single digits and half a foot of snow. The National Weather Service first reported in Chicago and warned citizens that the combination of the freezing temperature and intense wind patterns will be causing wind chills to hit below zero, and to stay indoors as much as they can.
Detroit also made headlines in the morning with their record breaking cold temperatures for this time of year, and for a record 10 inches of snow blanketing the city. These extreme conditions have caused a massive spike in highway accidents to occur, and is delaying all flights a minimum of three hours, (USA Today). Other parts of the country that have seen record breaking winter conditions with this blast include Michigan, which some parts of reported over thirty inches of snow! Parts of Maine saw over two feet and Wisconsin has been cruising at a steady nine degrees for the past 12 days, and has beat its own record for amount of snow during this time of year three consecutive days in a row (USA). Overall, it’s looking like one of the coldest harshest winters the country has seen in awhile, is just beginning.
These parts of America, however, are used to seeing pretty harsh winter conditions early in the season every year. What’s surprising is the areas of the South that are seeing the same type of conditions occurring. Areas of Texas just 60 miles from the Mexican border saw freezing temperatures and a few inches of snow this morning.
“Wednesday will be colder for many from the Great Lakes to the Northeast and down all the way into Florida. You are talking single digits in Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit. Atlanta will see the mid-20s. Low 20s in Birmingham, some other parts of Alabama. We will be challenging records everywhere. More snow and cold are on the way. More than 200 million people will be freezing between Tuesday through Thursday. The snow isn’t done yet, either. The cold will continue to shift south and east into Wednesday, finally encompassing more than half of the country,” AccuWeather meteorologist Tyler Roys said to USA Today.
Accuweather predicts more than 300 daily temperature records can be broken by this Thursday, meaning for this time of the year, it will be the coldest it’s ever been in recorded history for parts of the country. The extreme weather is related to the polar vortex, that many are affected by every winter. The polar vortex is a large mass of freezing cold air that sits high in our atmosphere and typically spins over the northernmost part of the planet (The North Pole). However, in some specific cases the vortex drifts south and when it makes that journey it lowers in the atmosphere, distributing cold air and thus harsh winter conditions across the country.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.