Polar Vortex Responsible for Record-Cold Weather in Texas
Geneva – UN weather experts said on Tuesday that a “polar vortex” was responsible for the freezing conditions in the US state of Texas last month.
“The United States shivered through its coldest February since 1989, thanks to this natural phenomenon,” spokesperson Clare Nullis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) told journalists during a regular briefing in Geneva.
An area of low pressure and cold air, surrounding either of the poles, the vortex normally keeps cold air in the Arctic and warmer air in the lower latitudes, she said.
“It weakened this winter so that meant that the cold air came spinning out of the Artic…warm air by contrast went into parts of the Arctic,” she added.
No less than 62 all-time daily cold minimum temperature records were broken in the United States on February 11-16, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Nullis noted.
Temperatures in February were below the 1991-2020 average over much of North America and the Russian Federation and they were above average over parts of the Arctic, and from northwest Africa to Southern Europe and China.