Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Living in the Arctic: #Blizzard2014

Living in the Arctic: 
Blizzard 2014

Jack Frost went a bit crazy in Indiana a few days ago and I have been one of his victims. It has been so cold that the mayor had to shut down the entire city for three days. Think about that for a moment. I live in the 12th largest city in the United States, Indianapolis. Not even a McDonald's has been open for several days. Thankfully we were warned about the storm before it happened. Thousands, including my family and I, flocked to the stores to stock up on supplies. By the time the storm came the stores were empty.

It's storms like these that people from the Midwest remember. I was born during the Blizzard of '76 in Cleveland, Ohio. My mother once told me that my grandparents were stranded on the interstate from Marion to Cleveland because of the storm. They were on their way to see me. The winters were hard during the first few years of my life. Yet the most talked about of all winter storms during that season of my life is the Blizzard of 1978. You can read more about the Blizzard of 1978 here:
The pond in our backyard
after the New Years Day snowstorm.

Indianapolis had already experienced a snowstorm before the blizzard hit our city. Snow began falling
around 7pm on New Years Eve and the entire state was placed under a travel advisory. The snowstorm didn't let up until the following day leaving behind around 3 -5 inches of snow. Towards the end of the storm we were warned by the local news that a major snow event would occur in a few days. If your from the Midwest you don't have to be told to stock up on supplies. You just know to do it. I instantly went into action. Even though I had just gone to the grocery a few days before, I went to Walmart and got enough food to last us a week. You just never know what can happen in a snowstorm.

The pond after the January 5th snowstorm. 
The snowstorm came on Sunday, January 5 with whiteout conditions and dangerously high winds leaving behind 11 inches of snow in the part of Indianapolis where I live. That means there is 14 inches of snow on the ground. The danger wasn't over after the snowstorm left. The next day came the bitter Arctic temperatures caused by the Polar Vortex.

Blame the Polar Vortex

The Polar Vortex is a section of dense, cold air that forms at the North Pole at night after the clear skies allow heat to escape into space. Meteorologist Ryan Maue stated to the LA Times on January 6, "The polar vortex isn’t this entity like a hurricane or nor'easter that develops and goes away. It’s a normal feature that’s part of the polar climate. Day after day after day, these pools of air form. There's always cold air up there, if the Arctic is left to its own devices.”

So how did it end up in the Midwest?

The Arctic air hit Indianapolis hard. The entire city looks like a ghost town. Here's what our temperatures looked like this week.

 Mayor Ballard told everyone on Monday that all business need to remain close through Tuesday. One woman had told him her boss had told her that she would lose her job if she didn't come into work. He replied stating that no one needs to be at work during these temperatures and if someone absolutely feels they need their business open then they are only to take volunteer employees. He also told everyone to stay off the road. It was illegal to be on the road Monday morning. He lowered the travel warning to essential travel only by noon but stated that the roads are still too slick to travel on. The city has plowed the streets but it's been too cold for the salt to work so it's a sheet of ice on the roads. He highly advised everyone not to travel. Today the travel advisory has fallen once again but it's still slick out there. There are long lines on the roads and its a hard commute to work. Schools and some businesses remain close today as the arctic weather makes its way out of our area.

I can't wait until things get back to normal.

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