Blasts of extreme cold have (briefly) taken hold throughout the U.S., delivering temperatures not seen for decades. (National Geographic News)
Use our resources to create your own cold-weather map.
Curious about polar vortexes and their impact on global weather? Let this BBC meteorologist explain it for you.
- How cold is it? Locate your general region on our MapMaker Interactive, and find the average winter temperature. (Do this by turning on the map layer “Surface Air Temperature” under the “Physical System – Climate” accordion bar.) Then look at a current weather map of the U.S.—the National Weather Service provides a beautifully detailed map, while The Weather Channel gives a more general view of national temperatures. Is your region experiencing temperatures related to the “polar vortex” explained the BBC video above?
- Read through our terrific activity “Create a Local Weather Map.” Adapt some of its themes for the current cold snap, using the MapMaker Interactive’s drawing tools and markers. Use the National Weather Service map to get a detailed report of your local weather (just click on your region), and adapt that map to the MapMaker Interactive. Be sure to zoom in to your local area!! Make your map as general or detailed as you want. Some data to consider:
- Drawing Tools
- Use the Polygon Tool to highlight a specific local area, such as your home, school, or bus route.
- Use the Label tool to identify some of the data supplied by the National Weather Service: temperature, humidity, dew point, barometric pressure.
- Look at national or regional temperatures, and use markers to identify weather extremes—where is it coldest in your state? What (if any) counties have special weather alerts? (Click on the drop-down menu of states, just below the map, for a list.) Mark regions that have cold-weather warnings—winter storms, high winds, wind chill, freezes.
- Drawing Tools