CNN reported that about 75 percent of Americans faced below-freezing temperatures in the final week of January. And those temperatures set records.
The National Weather Service explained, “Back to back cold fronts will slice through the eastern two-thirds of the country to deliver one of the coldest arctic air intrusions in recent memory.” Much of that cold was due to something called a polar vortex.
What exactly is a polar vortex? Well, it’s something that’s always with us, but it only rarely makes its presence known — and thank goodness for that.
According to NBC News, “The polar vortex is an area of low pressure and cold air that swirls like a wheel around each of Earth’s two polar regions. Sometimes the Arctic polar vortex wobbles and a lobe surges south, blanketing parts of North America with bitter temperatures.”
That wobble has led to much of the bone-chilling cold we’ve experienced this year. But it has also revealed some surprising beauty in God’s creation.
On Jan. 21, Noah Harrison posted amazing images on social media of the way in which wind and cold turned ordinary landmarks into incredible ice sculptures, KSAZ-TV reported. The images were taken at Miller Road Park in Avon Lake, Ohio.
“Normally, I only post hunting content,” he said. “But these shots have been all over the news across the country. So why not share it on here!”
Why not, indeed? The images are breathtaking.
Have you ever seen stalactites or stalagmites inside a cave? The rock takes on an oddly organic look, the result of the stone gradually accreting due to chemical processes.
The images Harrison shared look eerily like this. Light posts stand draped in long, languid icicles.
Humped-up hillocks of frozen water look like bouldered fields. In fact, the shoreline seems distended, as though the waves themselves decided it would be good and proper to suddenly spill into ice.
In fact, that ice formed so quickly on a number of objects that you can hardly tell what they are. They seem transformed and otherworldly.
WCCO reported that such frigidity is good for the Midwest. More ice means a slower thaw, which benefits various aquatic species.
For my part, it makes a chill run down my spine, and not just because of the mercury’s falling. It reminds me of who steers the weather and the divine power behind this fearsomely beautiful display of nature.
As Psalm 147 says, “He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down his crystals of ice like crumbs; who can stand before his cold?”
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