WASHINGTON — After a record-setting December heat wave made Americans wonder what happened to winter, a huge storm is now bringing freezing temperatures from Canada, and the cold air is being carried on very fast winds.
Here are the details: The Washington Post reports that a sudden movement of air on Monday, December 6, finally started bringing freezing temperatures from Alaska and Canada to the lower 48 states of the U.S. Before this sudden sea change, the lower 48 states had been experiencing record-breaking heat for November and December, while the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia had also been experiencing record-breaking autumn rainfall on top of unseasonably high temperatures.
Meteorologists said the strange warm weather in the U.S. had been caused by a stuck polar vortex.
This channel of air flows at a very high speed at a height of 30,000 feet on the boundary between the cold Arctic air and the warmer air south of the Arctic.
The polar vortex steers storms and usually changes its shape and position, but scientists say it’s been stuck in one place for an unusually long time, and that’s why the U.S. had been having such strangely warm weather over November and the beginning of December.
Meanwhile, Hawaii has been hit by snow-dumping blizzards on its highest peaks, while flooding and high winds are punishing the archipelago’s low-lying areas.