Dec 21, 2022
For those in the Northern Hemisphere, Wednesday, December 21, marks the Winter Solstice. It kicks off the winter season. It’s the shortest day of sunlight of the year. This year, though, scientists are predicting further signs of winter’s arrival: super cold temperatures and snow.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has forecast two big weather systems. They will likely impact much of the US through Christmas. The first is a huge “surge of Arctic air.” It's expected to dip from Canada all the way down to Texas and Florida. Temperatures from Montana to the Florida Panhandle are expected to drop 40 to 50 degrees below normal. Some places will see their lowest temperatures since 1989. That includes wind chills of -55 degrees, The Washington Post reports.
The second system is a “bomb cyclone” storm. The name comes from how the storm develops. It grows quickly. It also has a counter-clockwise spin. The NWS warned that the storm will probably bring “rapidly deteriorating conditions by late Thursday afternoon. Blizzard conditions will likely occur overnight into Friday” for cities in the Midwest. Chicago, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis will be affected by the storm.
The NWS warns that the storm's path could change a bit. But they're telling people from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania to prepare for whiteout conditions. 12-18 inches of snow could fall. High winds are likely to make travel during the busiest time of the year super hard.
NWS Chicago told people to think about changing their travel plans.
Polar Bear Tracker
This interactive resource allows students to track polar bears in Hudson Bay as they hunt on the winter ice and are sent back to land by melting summer ice.
"The Last Winter"
This mural by Dulk in Churchill, Canada depicts desperate and damaged polar bears and whales carrying pieces of their environment essential to their survival over a landscape punctuated by cars.
Are Southern Hemisphere Seasons More Severe?
This video explains how the oceans act as a moderator to prevent more severe seasonal temperatures in the Southern Hemisphere, even though it's closer to the sun in the summer and further from the sun in the winter.