Polar Vortex Creates Perfect Conditions for Home Science

Despite the harsh results of Polar Vortex, many had tried out their science knowledge with boiling water in the extreme conditions.
Jessica Miley

It’s cold outside! If you haven't heard about the Polar Vortex currently hitting the US, look no further than this video from Reddit user DONK3Y NUT5

How quickly the water freezes on this glass in Chicago from r/oddlysatisfying

The video shows a glass of water onto a glass balcony balustrade where it almost instantaneously freezes. It is currently -27 Celsius in Chicago where the video was made. 

At this temperature, a human can suffer frostbite within a few hours. Temperatures have plunged across the U.S causing near whiteout conditions in many major cities.

Citizens in New York, Philadelphia and other North Eastern cities have been warned about the dangers of going outside and caution against breathing deeply if they do so. More than 212 million people in the U.S are experiencing below freezing conditions known as the polar vortex. 

These warnings haven't stopped scores of Americans from undergoing home science experiments though.  Twitter and Instagram are filled with footage of brave and silly people heading outside with boiling water to watch the liquid instantly vaporize. 

Vortex claims eight lives so far

As memorizing as the water to vapor phenomenon is, the vortex is no laughing matter for many. In fact, extreme weather has already claimed the lives of eight and there may be more. A senior man died after falling outside his home; a student was found on the University of Iowa campus frozen to death and snowplow killed a man in Chicago.

Thousands of flights have been canceled, schools are closed, and post-delivery has stopped. In New York interstate roads have been shut due to low visibility and fear of black ice. 

The weather is disastrous for those already living below the poverty line. Homeless shelters are said to be overcrowded, but charities cannot refuse those seeking shelter as long exposure to these conditions will result in loss of limbs or life. Extra space is being sourced from school halls to churches to government offices. 

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Super cold air pushes down

The polar vortex is an area of low pressure and very cold air that usually swirls over the Arctic, but a disturbance in the jet stream can send this vortex into more middle latitudes.

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