Polar vortex: What is it? Is it Affecting California?

Ale Martinez, Staff Reporter

A real life Santa Clause shows the strong consequences of the weather.

What is a polar vortex?  According to Webster’s dictionary, a polar vortex is a low pressure system full of cold arctic air. Many weathermen compare this type of pressure to a hurricane without the rain, but with really cold air and snow. Most of the cold, frigid air of the polar vortex is parked over a surrounding point which is close to the North Pole.

The cold arctic air from the poles blew through Canada and the Midwest to northeastern parts of the U.S.  Temperatures ranges from zero degrees to a frightening minus 51 degrees with the wind chill.  Most people are used to cold weather, but this type of cold weather was out of the ordinary winter forecast.  Reports from these states show several deaths related to the cold weather, many vehicle accidents, and cars stranded on roadways, as well as over 1,000 flights grounded.  Many school children were able to stay home from school for several days too.

Eventually the vortex weakened and retreated back to the Arctic circle, leaving behind plenty of snow and frozen lakes.  It will take longer to melt for many areas. Scientists say the polar vortex weather happens about every 10-15 years.

So why does the polar vortex matter for those living in California? The state has experienced many unusual storms over the last month from rain, hail, snow, high winds, and low temperatures.  Skiing resorts are reporting snow levels from 3″ to 38″ all over the state, and many communities within California received anywhere from 13 to 28 inches of rain total.

Junior, Lizbeth Martinez, expressed why she does not like the cold weather. “I get sick. I get sad because it’s gloomy and it gets me in my feels. I also get frustrated because I can’t wear what I want.”