Saturday, January 11, 2014

Polar Vortex

By now you may have heard this over as well as misused expression in the media regarding the historic event to recently pass. Brutal as it was, the arctic circle did not deviate from the pole but rather, a large dip in the jet stream pulled a chunk of exceptionally cold air down across the lower 48. Although many temperature records were broken, this phenomena is not uncommon during winter in the northern hemisphere. Locally for Decatur, we received about 7" of snow but what made this unique was the high wind that contributed to negative double digit wind chills. I was holed up at a hotel for the worst of conditions and stepped out periodically. These were by far the coldest temperatures I have personally experienced but to do so was totally worth it.

Sunday evening looking SW at I-72/US 51 as the snow was departing.

Looking for lines with a wind chill of -23°.

You know it's bad when the plows have to get behind this guy.

Monday morning I walked 1/4 mile up the road so to get sunrise from an open vantage. Unsure of what to expect, it was only fitting that an unbelievable atmospheric optics event would accompany the air temperature of -10° and wind chill of -36° that was reported out at the airport during this time. Per the first image, I thought it was a sun pillar before realizing that it was an intense sundog off to the side for the sun was still below the horizon and masked by haze.

Heading back, an officer rolled up and asked if I needed help. It was my friend Mark who was surprised to see me. Despite normally being a busy thoroughfare, his was the only car to pass in the time I was out as all state and county roads were closed indefinite. Pairing him with the 'superdog', I would catch a generous ride back in style.

As the morning progressed, the halo/sundog combination persisted but by now a circumzenithal arc appeared nearly overhead.

Tuesday morning was still ridiculously cold with lows in the negative range but with sunrise came the peak of the event as temperatures were forecast to slowly climb. I could and probably should write more regarding everything from the past several days but am somewhat exhausted from it all and will opt to just keep it simple. So just how cold did it get? More information can be found HERE.

Tuesday evening.

1 comment:

Mak Porter said...

Incredible pictures Paul! I'm glad I came to you blog because I hadn't seen the circumzenithal arc you captured. It was indeed a nice reward for being out in that dangerous cold.