NEW YORK — “I’ve been doing this for 35 years. I don’t ever remember something this widespread, this far south,” veteran meteorologist Al Roker marveled on last evening’s NBC Nightly News. Roker called the polar vortex that is freezing America today “basically an Arctic hurricane.” This “dangerously cold air” froze railroad switches in Chicago yesterday, leaving commuter trains dead on the tracks. Work crews used small fires to warm equipment back into gear. At the Windy City’s Lincoln Park Zoo, a polar bear named Anana was brought indoors, to shield her from the brutal conditions.
“The next thing we’re worried about is a major outbreak of lake-effect snow,” Roker added. “Over the next 24 hours, we’re talking about snowfall amounts that are going to exceed three to four feet of snow between Syracuse, New York and Watertown…So, it’s going to be rough.”
According to the Associated Press, “Minnesota called off school for Monday statewide, the first such closing in 17 years, because of projected highs in the minus teens and lows as cold as 30 below. Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, students also won’t be in class Monday.”
Since early Monday morning, according to Fox News Channel meteorologist Maria Molina, temperatures have plummeted 26 degrees in Tampa and 51 in Raleigh, North Carolina. At 5:00 AM today, air temperatures stood at 25 degrees in New Orleans, 8 in New York City, and 9 below zero in Cleveland.
All in all, some 200 million Americans awoke today to sub-zero wind chills. Most of the United States has become a real-life version of Frozen, the beautiful Disney animated film which, appropriately enough, was No. 1 at the domestic box office last weekend after six weeks in release. This is a true rarity for a truly fine motion picture.
Most astonishing is this: Babbitt, Minnesota was America’s coldest spot on Monday. The mercury there inched all the way up to -36 degrees. Meanwhile, Smithsonian Magazine reports that NASA’s Curiosity robotic rover has yet to observe a daily high below -24 since it landed last August on Mars. So, the citizens of Babbitt actually could warm up slightly if they visited that spot on the Red Planet.
All of this is enough to send a chill down one’s spine.
Now — very important — this does not prove that the globe is warming.
However, it does prove that the climate is changing.
So, remember: None of this is about global warming. It’s all about climate change. Repeat after me: CLIMATE CHANGE!