Polar vortex, Phantom Zone and the third week of January

This polar vortex is rockin’ my world.

Based on years of living in Minnesota, I’ve always contended the third week in January to be the worst week of the year.

I’m so sure about it, it’s become one of those undeniable facts of my existence, no less absolutely true than “breakfast isn’t complete without fruit” or “floss is not a luxury.” In fact, I waxed poetic about the awfulness of the third week of January a number of times here on Minnesota Transplant: Here, here and here.

So this double-digit-below-zero temperature stuff with double-digit-miles-per-hour wind on a day in January that’s still in the single digits has me stymied.

It’s like my world has turned upside down.

As I write at 7 p.m., it’s 14 degrees below zero in beautiful northern Illinois. The wind is blowing at 20 miles per hour so it feels like 40 below zero.

But wait, it gets worse.

Where my sister lives, on a lovely lake in Central Minnesota, it’s 18 degrees below zero. The wind is blowing at only 11 miles per hour, so it feels like 42 degrees below zero.

Let’s take this example back to its source: The little town on the prairie where I grew up. Wadena, Minn., is closer to Fargo than to the Twin Cities. My parents still live (and shiver) there.

It’s 24 degrees below zero there right now. With that brisk 12-miles-per-hour wind in your hair, it feels like 46 degrees below zero.

Forty. Six. Below.

phantom zoneAll this is thanks to a polar vortex, weatherman Al Roker says. I feel like General Zod trapped in the plate-glass window of the Phantom Zone, forever twirling out in the coldness of space (yes, that’s a 1980 “Superman II” reference).

This is bad. Really bad. Frozen nostril hair and crunchy snow and black ice and freezing skin bad.

And if it can be this bad on Jan. 6, I am bereft about the third week in January. Will it be warm and sunny (even relatively warm would be an improvement)? This would confuse me and force me to question all things I hold dear.

Or will the third week of 2014 be …

Dah, dah, dum!

… worse?

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3 responses to “Polar vortex, Phantom Zone and the third week of January

  1. A voice from central MN says…..NOOOOOOO!
    We have had a month of sub zero temps. NO MORE!

  2. It is nice to know it is now called the Polar Vortex. It used to be “cold air from Canada.” Finally we Canadians are spared the opprobrium hurled at us by those below the 49th parallel.

  3. My sister lives in Staples, MN. She is experiencing your sister ‘s pain.

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