Polar vortex 2019 photos and videos

Here’s a glimpse of what the bone-chilling conditions in the U.S. Midwest this week look like.

A lake beach with a heart stamped into snow, with a sunrise and sun halo over the lake.

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | Melissa Seitz at Higgins Lake, Michigan, caught this sunrise halo on January 30, 2019. Halos like this are caused by ice crystals drifting in the air. She wrote: “I created the heart in the snow a few days ago by walking around in tall boots! After we had about 10 new inches of snow on our frozen lake, I had to work on it again! Temperatures have been very cold here, but we have had beautiful sunrises when it isn’t snowing!” Thank you, Melissa.

Brutal cold struck the U.S. Midwest this week, closing roads, schools and businesses and causing multiple states of emergency to be declared as people coped with subzero temperatures. In Chicago on Wednesday, Arctic air from the polar vortex caused temperatures to drop to as low as -28 F (-46 C). By the end of the day on Wednesday, as many as eight deaths had been reported. And the cold is continuing. Meteorologists at the Washington Post said that temperatures on January 31 will be likely colder than those on the North Slope of Alaska. Here are a few images – from the EarthSky Community and elsewhere – of this week’s cold.

Dark snowy street scene, with mounds of deep snow on the ground.

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | Niko Powe in Kewanee, Illinois said he got up before the sun on January 30, 2019, wanting to catch: “… the moon sweeping past Jupiter, Antares and Venus on this -43 a.m. day in the K!”

White and gray satellite view of Great Lake area, lines of clouds over lakes, land all white.

It even looks cold from space in this natural-color satellite image, acquired by NASA’s Terra satellite on January 27, 2019. Cloud streets and lake-effect snow stretch across the scene, as frigid Arctic winds blew over the U.S. Great Lakes. Read more at NASA Earth Observatory.

Looking out a window at a snowy street, frost around the edges of the window, inside!

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | There were wind chills in Minnesota this week as as low as -62F (-52C). Donna Divine in White Bear Lake, Minnesota, said there was frost inside – yes, we said inside – her bedroom window throughout the day on January 30, 2019. “That’s with the heat on in the apartment,” she wrote.

Ice-covered tree-limbs in foreground, sunrise over frozen lake in background.

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | John Emanuelson at Atwater Beach in Shorewood, Wisconsin, captured this image January 30 and wrote: “Sunrise over Lake Michigan, -20 F. Beautiful morning!” Thank you, John!

A swirly frost pattern.

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | Jacalyn Margittay in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, wrote on January 27: “Frost on my kitchen window – just pretty.”

Close-up of tiny frost crystals on wood

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | And it’s not just the U.S. Midwest that’s cold this week. Jessica Marshall in Birmingham, England, wrote on January 31: “Frost on a fence post this morning in minus 6 degrees!”

Completely frosted window with Kokopelli decoration in one corner.

View larger at EarthSky Community Photos. | Mary Olinger in central Minnesota brought this picture of an iced-up window. Notice the feathery patterns in the frost, formed at -29 F (-34 C). Thank you, Mary.

Bottom line: January 2019 images of the brutal cold in the U.S. Midwest and elsewhere around the world.

EarthSky 2019 lunar calendars are cool! Order now. Going fast!

Eleanor Imster

MORE ARTICLES