Those of us who lived through last winter are now familiar with the term "polar vortex." But are we using that phrase correctly? Sara Schultz is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in White Lake. Exactly what IS the polar vortex? And what is it not?
Life-threatening wind chills are keeping Michigan's homeless shelters full. The shelters have been at or above capacity for roughly two months.
Darin Estep is the director of community engagement for Volunteers of America in Lansing. He says the ongoing cold is taking a toll.
“It’s asking a lot of folks to sleep on a cot every night,” says Estep. “It’s asking a lot of the staff to take care of the facility every night. There’s a lot of conversion that needs to take place every night to turn a day center into a sleeping area.”
SUPERIOR, Wis. (AP) Ships using Lake Superior are having a tough time due to the worst build up of ice in decades.
Wisconsin Public Radio News reports the National Weather Service started tracking freeze-ups in 1978, and says this is the second-fastest and thickest ice-up in 35 years. Coast Guard Soo Vessel Traffic Director Mark Gill says this is the worst since 1989.
While temperatures are (finally) starting to climb out of subzeros across Michigan, signs of the so-called polar vortex – a low-pressure system that brought arctic temperatures across the country – are still lingering throughout the state.
For instance, boulder-sized ice balls have taken hold of the shores of Lake Michigan. Here’s a video captured on the lake’s coast in Glen Arbor, Michigan:
As MLive’s Heidi Fenton reported, the chunks form when large ice sheets break off into smaller pieces of ice. When waves hit the ice sheets, the ice chunks form into perfectly round, frigid spheres, with some estimated to weigh about 75 pounds.
If temperatures stay low enough, the ice balls – which our webmaster claims look exactly like chocolate truffles he has at home – may continue to grow, AccuWeather.com reported:
"It's possible that the ice is accreting like a snowball or like a hailstone, and that they keep growing," said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jim Andrews.