NASA watches wild polar vortex from space

This natural-color view from NASA’s Terra satellite shows the Great Lakes region on Sunday. 

Joshua Stevens/NASA EOSDIS/LANCE/GIBS/Worldview

While people down on Earth are freezing their tushies off as a polar vortex sweeps across parts of the US, NASA’s eyes in the sky are looking down from the cold environs of space. The space agency posted a Wednesday update with a view from its Terra satellite.

The Terra image on Sunday showed “cloud streets,” long stripes of cumulus clouds, and snow reaching across the Great Lakes.

NASA also shared a look at the cold air mass reaching down into the northern US as envisioned with data run through the GEOS-5 global atmospheric model. 

“Measurements of temperature, moisture, wind speeds and directions, and other conditions are compiled from NASA satellites and other sources, and then added to the model to closely simulate observed reality,” says NASA.

geos5ploarvortex2019

This map shows a modeled view of the polar vortex.

Joshua Stevens/GEOS-5/NASA EOSDIS/LANCE/GIBS/Worldview

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tweeted a dramatic look at the Great Lakes on Wednesday. The time-lapse sequence shows a white veil forming over the area as the cold Arctic air mass surges south.

The frigid weather is triggering closures, flight cancellations and at least six weather-related deaths so far. “It’ll be colder in Chicago that it is in parts of the Arctic Circle. Even the South Pole is expected to be warmer than parts of the US,” says CBS News.

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