Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Add polar vortex — or ‘polar pig’ — to our winter lexicon
The so-called “polar vortex,” a pipeline of cold Arctic air pummeling the central part of the continent, is dominating headlines as it plunges various areas into record-low temperatures.
The vortex is a whirlpool of cold air making its way from Nunavut down through Manitoba and Saskatchewan and into the United States, setting many record temperatures along the way. States as far south as Georgia and Florida are being hit.
It’s also affecting Ontario, where there are widespread wind chill warnings in effect. Powerful snow squall activity around Georgian Bay and Lake Huron has resulted in blizzard warnings.
“With the depth of cold air that we’re looking at, it is a possibility that a number of cold-temperature records could be broken in southwestern Ontario,” said Geoff Coulson, meteorologist with Environment Canada.
“In Toronto, we’re going to be in the depth of cold through until Wednesday . . . The polar vortex will no longer be an issue as we head into the weekend.”
Although Canadians are not strangers to these blasts of frigid air and rapid temperature drops, the term polar vortex isn’t commonly used here, said Coulson. Rather, it’s being used in earnest by Americans to explain the cold Canadian air that’s currently invading the U.S.
The vortex has even garnered the nickname “polar pig” after the term was used to describe a bulge of cold air, during an interview last week.
“It definitely looks like one heck of a ‘polar pig’ shot,” Kyle Cooper, director of research with IAF Advisors in Houston, told Bloomberg News on Friday.
Other wacky terms being coined include “Chiberia,” to describe record-low temperatures in Chicago. (On Monday morning, temperatures there dropped to a record -27C. The wind chill makes it feel like -50C.) (Source: Toronto Star)
Cartoon inspired by the reverse of the one drawn last July: