Below Zero

By Isabella Longo and Jake Mawhinney
FEB 18, 2019

In January of 2019, a whirlwind  of frigid air struck the northern states with full force. The Polar Vortex is, according to the National Weather Service (,  “a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles.” Johns Hopkins University’s Waugh Research Group conducted a study regarding the polar vortex and its origin. The team described the term polar vortex as “… a planetary-scale flow that encircles the pole in middle or high latitudes.”

Heavy amount of snowfall, similar to the snowfall experienced during the 2019 Polar Vortex
Photo: Pixabay

During the 2019 Polar Vortex, northern parts of America felt an extreme arctic chill. The Weather Channel reported that in Chicago the temperature dropped thirty-one degrees below zero, setting a new state low. These frigid temperatures were more than an inconvenience. According to Janna Herron of USA Today, some homes have experienced extensive damage from the snow and ice. This damage included, but was not limited to, burst pipes, broken windows, and even roof collapses. The dangers of these temperatures do not stop here. Some have lost their lives due to incidents involving ice and snow. In a report from Mahita Gajanan of Time magazine, twenty one people died as a result of extreme temperatures. Iced over roads also posed a threat to those in areas affected by the freeze.

Wind chills created a lower “feels like” temperature which literally chilled people to the bone. Schools and offices were also closed, due to the danger of frostbite. Those who chose to brave the frigid temperatures should’ve, according to the BBC, worn layered clothing, mittens, as well as hands and feet warmers. As wind chill increases, so does the risk of frostbite. As the arctic temperatures began to dissipate, people were able to resume their daily lives and the dangers of these extreme temperatures were a thing of the past.

Feature Photo: Edward Stojakovic