with Vipul Bhundia (image contributor)
Those of you who are currently living or visiting the United States and Canada, or do not live there but have been following the news this past week, are presumably very much aware of the weird weather phenomenon that is gripping the north American continent. A body of extremely bitter cold air from the Arctic tundra has meandered its way down south and has enveloped the continent in very cold temperatures close to -40 to -50 degrees Celsius, coupled with heavy snow drifts. This phenomenon has been referred to by both meteorologists and the news media as a ‘polar vortex’. It may sound like something falling out of the pages of a sci-fi novel, but it is very real. By Wednesday, temperatures of -12 C were reported in New York and -8 in nearby Boston, Massachusetts. Ironically, a town in Michigan state called Hell, reported air temperatures of -37 degrees Celsius or so. So Hell really did freeze over….. The Niagara falls on the border of the two countries turned into ice on the spot, a spectacle last observed in the 19th century. Lake Michigan also froze over. Extremely low temps were even reported near the summit of Mauna Kea, in tropical Hawai’i state far out in the mid Pacific Ocean.
This combined Humour/Photo Moment comes from my cousin Vipul via a mobile upload on Facebook and it’s a now rather ironic cartoon of a boy having to help his dad clear the snow from their driveway. I can guess this kid is not used to hard work and likes the company of his phone but there’s no escaping some back-breaking labour with a hefty dose of elbow grease and a dash of frostbite to keep daddy dearest from spending all winter at home snowed in with his beers. Poor kid. While shovelling snow from the front yards of houses is a common sight of US and Canadian localities during the winter months, it’s much rarer in Britain especially in the South, where it’s more likely to rain rather than snow. Most snow removal our way consists of scraping ice crystals off the car windscreen. My cousin happens to be a driving instructor so this must be a pain in the snowballs for him!! Sadly some of the twenty-one fatalities reported so far from the areas hit by the vortex have been of people who perished from heart attacks as they attempted to tackle the snow flurries in these abnormal conditions.