Polar vortex chills an unsuspecting East Coast


Junior of Hillsborough High school Sara Freehauf captured a photo of her backyard after a snowstorm in New Jersey.

Palm trees line Carlsbad streets, and sunny days heat up California dreams. Living in a temperate space, we live in a secluded zone. Meanwhile, an Artic cyclone torments the country we call home.

Most of America is overwhelmed by an Arctic Cold Front. Facing record-breaking temperatures and torrential snowfall, the East Coast is caught in a Polar Vortex.

Making an appearance in December, this unpredictable weather phenomenon shows no mercy on lands east of the Rocky Mountains. The Great Lakes have been under warnings of destructive winds. Atlanta hosted an unforeseen snowfall and the nation’s average wind chill factor makes temperatures feel about 10 degrees colder than they actually are. Freezing temperatures resulted in heavy snowfall for the town of Hillsborough, New Jersey.

“It’s so bad here,” Hillsborough High School junior Sara Freehauf said. “There’s snow and ice everywhere you look, and the street corners are just piled with snow. A few places had to close several times for the safety of their employees because the roads were so bad.”

Hillsborough Township was hit hard by several severe winter storms. And while snow is a problem, ice is the real issue. When roads become coated in a slippery layer of ice, this is known as black ice. The layer poses a serious threat to a driver’s safety. Relying on school buses to transport kids, schools must shut down.

Snow days are days in which an establishment closes due to winter weather extremes. Hillsborough set aside one snow day this year.  Well, the Polar Vortex rocked the township’s expectations.  The district had to cancel school so many times that the students’ spring breaks are being shortened.

“It was nice to have a day or two off from school, but now, it’s just ridiculous,” Freehauf said. “Everyone here just wants summer because the snow is just awful.”

While the Tri-State area is plagued with an abundance of precipitation, states like Massachusetts face chilling temperatures, but nothing they can’t handle. Roads are cleared quickly, and students still have a Spring break in its entirety.

“We got hit fairly hard but not as much as New Jersey,” Westborough High School junior Emily Goroza said. “We have had five snow days so far. I don’t like it because I don’t have time to play in the snow, and I can’t drive in it.”

The Polar Vortex seems to be winding down as February comes to an end. While the snow piles seem endless and black ice coaxes the streets–there is light at the end of this wind tunnel. But until those crocuses sprout, let’s keep those chilly East Coast inhabitants in our Californian thoughts.