Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Polar Vortex

Just this New Year's Eve a little girl was asking me if I knew the way to the North Pole and whether I could take her there. When I said "Yes" to her, wondering what to say next, I had no way of knowing that the North Pole would soon be coming to her.

Now the whole world has been talking about the US polar vortex for the last couple of days, or that's what we in America would like to think. You may even have seen photos of the cold places. So here's a quick update for the readers of this blog about the weather here. It is also a post to remind me of these events next winter, when I feel it is too cold. So, just how cold is cold? A few points.

  • All 50 states in the US registered temperatures below freezing on Tuesday, January 8.
  • Chicago was actually colder than University of Chicago's research station in Antarctica
  • The polar bear at the Chicago zoo had to be shifted indoors due to plummeting temperatures.
  • Falls Church, the city where I live, registered a low of -16°C in the early hours of Tuesday. The windchill was -26°C at the time. Both these figures are officially the lowest temperatures I have seen in the US. Of course, Newark and New York were much colder on Tuesday.
  • My own thermometer, which is kind of accurate, measured -10°C on my balcony. I did not try to turn boiling water into instant snow, but I am sure it would have worked. By the way, that thermometer also has a hygrometer and it measured the relative humidity as 16% both inside and outside which means I have to use a humidifier all the time to prevent nosebleed.
The heating of my apartment broke down on Sunday night, proving yet again that Murphy's Law never fails. Thankfully it was fixed on Monday morning. I had to venture out for half an hour on Tuesday without gloves, and my hands felt really painful. Besides, when the temperature remains sub-zero for a long time, one gets to see some weird effects, such as icicles hanging under the car. The worst part of living here in Virginia during this period is that there is no snowfall which means there is no reason for school to close. Who heard of schools closing because temperatures dropped too much on a sunny day? So I am trying to endure the cold weather to and from school, hoping for a snowstorm that would close everything for a day. That would at least be better than this icy-surfaces-in-the-sun thing.

In the meantime, Google automatically enhanced some of the photos that I have uploaded during the last few days by adding animation to them and decided to call it "Auto Awesome." While the effects are nothing short of cliched and tacky, somehow it goes with the holiday spirit, and helps me imagine what it would look like if it snowed. Here are the two that I liked the most.


  1. What a start to 2014. chhobigulo khub bhalo laglo.

  2. @Kuntala: A chilling start indeed. Thank you! :)