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What is a Polar Vortex?

Updates on Ukraine Protest

The NATO military chief warned that the Russian troops could invade Ukraine very swiftly. Energy supplies must not be used as a political weapon, says Secretary of State John Kerry.
03-04-2014 01:42:01 AM (EST)
Dmitry Medvedev, PM of Russia, finally visited Crimea after it was annexed from Ukraine. He declared that Crimea would be a special economic zone and enjoy the benefits, incentives etc. related to businesses.
31-03-2014 07:57:20 AM (EST)
Russia suggests a 'federal' structure for Ukraine ahead of talks with the U.S.
31-03-2014 02:09:47 AM (EST)
According to the White House, Russian President Putin called up Obama to discuss the situation in Ukraine. They both agreed to meetto discuss next steps.
29-03-2014 05:48:17 AM (EST)
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, declared that Russia will launch its own system of payment. He did this as the famous companies Visa and MasterCard declined their services to banks of Russia because of sanctions (Ukraine Crisis) imposed by different countries.
28-03-2014 07:06:00 AM (EST)
Recently the World Bank warned that the crisis over Crimea could cause the Russian economy into recession this year even without trade sanctions by the West.
27-03-2014 02:05:26 AM (EST)
Ukraine's parliament dismisses defense minister, Ihor Tenyukh over his handling of Crimean crisis. Col.-Gen. Mykhailo Koval has been voted by the parliament to be appointed as his successor.
26-03-2014 02:20:18 AM (EST)
Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister, Russia and Andriy Deshchytsia, Ukraine's Foreign Minister , met for the very first time after Crimea's annexation. G-8 members said they will not plan a summit in Russia.
25-03-2014 06:57:19 AM (EST)
White House: U.S. and 6 other Western nations vote to effectively kick Russia out of G8 after annexation of Crimea.
25-03-2014 01:46:49 AM (EST)
President Obama calls Russia's attempt to annex Crimea a flagrant breach of international law.
24-03-2014 07:49:38 AM (EST)
Ukraine to finally withdraw troops from Crimea.
24-03-2014 07:49:30 AM (EST)
Russian troops stormed and seized Ukrainian naval base in Crimean port of Feodosia.
24-03-2014 04:59:41 AM (EST)
Ukraine has lost nearly all the warships it had in the Crimean Peninsula and the government ordered the crew to resist until the end.The Ukranian Defence Minister lately said that though the orders were given to the commanders to use their arms, they did not use them to avoid bloodshed.
24-03-2014 01:19:15 AM (EST)
The tense stand-off between Russia and the West over Crimea and Ukraine has led to sanctions being imposed on members of the Russian elite by the EU and the US.According to the experts, Russia,which is already on the edge of recession, has a lot to lose from any economic sanctions imposed by Europe and the US - as does Europe.
22-03-2014 03:01:48 AM (EST)
Russian President Vladimir Putin signs laws completing Crimea's accession to Russia.
21-03-2014 07:45:35 AM (EST)
G-8 countries which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, UK, USA and EU have rejected the participation of Russia in the G-8 summit because of Ukraine crisis.
18-03-2014 08:38:59 AM (EST)
John Kerry, Secretary of State, US reached London to discuss about Russia's actions towards Ukraine. Russia has been warned by US and European Union and want Russia not to go for any military action in Ukraine.
14-03-2014 07:12:08 AM (EST)
Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, expressed its concern for Russia that the latter has to face political and economic consequences if it doesn't reach to an amiable decision with respect to Ukraine. Angela Merkel is strictly in against of the use of military by Russia for Ukraine.
13-03-2014 07:23:31 AM (EST)
Several foreign policy analysts consider Vladimir Putin's moves in Ukraine to be smart. However, Andrew Kuchins of Politico Magazine begs to differ and thinks that the Russian president may have made a big mistake similar to one made by Leonid Brezhnev when he decided to invade Afghanistan in 1979.
13-03-2014 03:29:13 AM (EST)
U.S. President Barack Obama and Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned Russian government that they have to face the consequences if it doesn't remove its troops from Crimea and Kiev.
13-03-2014 01:34:33 AM (EST)
Russia has been warned by US that there will be a huge cost of their actions in the Crimea region in Ukraine. US advised Russia to call back their military from Ukraine. US is trying hard to prevent Russia from military actions in Ukraine.
12-03-2014 06:55:35 AM (EST)
Flights into Crimea from Kiev and Istanbul have been suspended until at least Monday. Flights to and from Moscow operating normally.
12-03-2014 05:18:23 AM (EST)
On Tuesday, passengers disembarking in Simferopol saw pro-Russian militiamen wearing red armbands that proclaim their allegiance to "the autonomous republic of Crimea. They said they were in search of people who were bringing weapons from Ukraine and Maidan.
12-03-2014 02:36:06 AM (EST)
Russia's parliament will discuss legislation on Crimea joining the Russian Federation, Russia's state-run RIA-Novosti reports.
12-03-2014 00:54:58 AM (EST)
Russia agreed to provide aid of $1.1 billion to Crimea region as the latter favored to be a part of Russia instead of Ukraine. Russia has already kept aside funds that will be used in the development of Crimea's economic and industrial sectors.
10-03-2014 06:54:19 AM (EST)
Crimea, an autonomous region in Ukraine's southern side has most of the Russian population. After the day when Crimean parliament gave its vote in favor to join Russia, the latter ensured that there will be no danger of sanctions by US or Europe.
07-03-2014 06:11:57 AM (EST)
In a meeting with Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, Kerry stressed a need for a direct Russian-Ukrainian dialogue and the importance of allowing international monitors into Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Kerry emphasized that Ukraine must remain whole.
07-03-2014 03:43:55 AM (EST)
In hour-long call with Putin, Obama calls on Russia to hold direct talks with Ukraine
07-03-2014 01:56:19 AM (EST)
The Parliament of Crimea voted in favor to join Russia.
06-03-2014 06:44:00 AM (EST)
Heads of states in Europe plan to discuss about the crisis in Ukraine.
06-03-2014 06:14:04 AM (EST)
The European Union in Brussels freezes assets of Ukraine's ousted leader. The freeze, targets people "identified as responsible" for misappropriating Ukrainian state funds.
06-03-2014 03:58:06 AM (EST)
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he will meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Paris. According to Lavrov,the Ukrainian president was removed unconstitutionally.
06-03-2014 01:38:34 AM (EST)
A leaked phone call between the EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet has revealed that the two discussed a conspiracy theory that blamed the killing of civilian protesters in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev,
05-03-2014 23:45:15 PM (EST)
Top diplomats from the major players trying to find an end to the crisis in Ukraine are gathering in Paris
05-03-2014 06:36:22 AM (EST)
US plays a crucial rule in the Ukraine crisis with Russia. John Kerry, US Secretary of State and Sergei Lavrov, Russia's Foreign Minister will do a face to face meeting for the same. Also discussion between NATO and Russia will take place in Brussels regarding the Russian and Ukrainian soldiers' presence in Crimea region.
05-03-2014 05:50:31 AM (EST)
Russian forces seized two Ukrainian missile defence battalions in the Crimea region of Kiev. Also, according to the French foreign minister, EU will consider sanctions against Russia on Thursday if there is no de-escalation in Ukraine.
05-03-2014 04:43:15 AM (EST)
US secretary of state, John Kerry arrives in Kiev. Putin says no need to send troops to Ukraine.
05-03-2014 02:29:35 AM (EST)
President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, asserted that he does not want Crimea region to become the part of Russia. Also soldiers who were present near the Ukraine border were called back to their bases. US Secretary of State, John Kerry, will visit Kiev, capital of Ukraine, to talk about the support which is to be provided to Ukraine.
04-03-2014 06:52:34 AM (EST)
Russia has vowed its troops will remain in Ukraine to protect Russian interests and citizens until the political situation has been "normalised". Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was defending human rights against "ultra-nationalist threats". Russia is now in de facto military control of the Crimea region.
03-03-2014 08:48:41 AM (EST)
Russian troops are suspected to have taken over a ferry terminal in Kerch, in the Crimea region in Ukraine, which is mostly used by ships bound to Russia. With rising fears of Russian invasion in the region, Russia's G8 partners have highly condemned the actions.
03-03-2014 07:15:01 AM (EST)
Russia has made its military hold more strong in Ukraine's Crimea region. The action of Russia has been condemned by David Cameron and Barack Obama and said that Russia should face "significant costs" for its actions.
03-03-2014 05:42:03 AM (EST)
The new Ukrainian government has started mobilizing its forces as the tension in the area grows. With the way things are at the moment, war cannot be ruled out even as the world leaders are pushing for a diplomatic solution.
03-03-2014 03:50:23 AM (EST)
The new Ukrainian government has started mobilizing its forces as the tension in the area grows. With the way things are at the moment, war cannot be ruled out even as the world leaders are pushing for a diplomatic solution.
03-03-2014 03:50:04 AM (EST)
On Tuesday, US Secretary of State, John Kerry would visit Kiev. US is clear on its stand against Russia and Kerry has mentioned Sochi G-8 would not happen if the military campaign is not seized.
03-03-2014 01:47:12 AM (EST)
Ukraine military forces have been put under high alert, and is ready for war against Russia's invasion of its Crimea region, as Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor. The nation's PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk, sent a message to the international community, saying that his country was on the brink of disaster, as he accuses Russia of declaring war. He said to the media, “This is the red alert, this is not a threat, this is actually a declaration of war to my country.” US President, Barack Obama along with British Prime Minister, David Cameron; Polish President, Bronislaw Komorowski; and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have expressed concern over the violation of Ukraine by Russia, a serious intrusion into the country's sovereignty and freedom. World leaders are treating this action as Russia's defiance to international security.
02-03-2014 23:15:41 PM (EST)
Ukraine Blames Russia for Illegal Military Intervention: 1 March 2014 Ukraine’s U.N. Ambassador, Yuriy Sergeyev clearly accused the Russian militia’s involvement in the escalation of violent activities in the Crimea region of Ukraine. He accused Russia of sending military planes illegally across the Soviet border. “We are strong enough to defend ourselves”, he stated to the media after a meeting with the UN Security Council about the escalating crisis in Ukraine, at the U.N. headquarters in New York. In an earlier instance, armed men seized two airports in the Crimea region of Ukraine, which is suspected as Russia’s attempt to invade the Pro-Russia area. Russia has denied any involvement in the attacks.
01-03-2014 02:00:56 AM (EST)
Pro-Russian Military Activity Suspected in Crimea, Ukraine. Unidentified gunmen have blocked a Ukrainian military airport in Crimea's Black Sea port, Sevastopol near Russia's naval base. The armed men are alleged to be Russian military. Arsen Avakov, Ukraine's Interior Minister issued a statement saying, that the services at the airport continue without any delay or interruptions, serving Simferpol. He says, “ I can only describe this as a military invasion and occupation”. The Russian military activity in the Crimea region has raised suspicions of the involvement from Moscow, though no unusual activity has also been detected, says an US official. On the other hand, Ukraine's Parliament is seeking help to resolve the nation's crisis and maintain peace in a meeting with the UN Security Council.
28-02-2014 06:48:03 AM (EST)
On Friday morning, around 50 armed personnel clad in military uniforms with Russian navy insignia, annexed the Belbek International Airport of Sevastopol in Crimea and also the airport, which serves the regional capital.
28-02-2014 04:20:54 AM (EST)
Tension in Ukraine mounts on Wednesday, February 26, as plenty of forearmed gunmen captured the two government buildings in the Simferopol region of Crimea and raised the Russian flag. Around 15,000 Russian soldiers carried out this military expedition.
27-02-2014 07:44:22 AM (EST)
Oleksander Turchynov, the interim head of Ukraine is quite apprehensive about the present state in the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea as the people corroborated there against the insurrection in Kiev. He called a meeting on Tuesday, February 25 with the interior ministries, and dignitaries from the defence to ward off every possible peril of segregation, and to preserve Ukraine's territorial solidarity. Establishment of a Government has been deferred until Thursday, by the acting President, to give every aspect more thought.
26-02-2014 04:05:40 AM (EST)
An arrest warrant has been issued against the former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, as is disclosed by the Interior Minister Arsen Avakhov, today at his official page of Facebook. The charge levied upon him is for the impeachment of mass murder against the protestors.
24-02-2014 07:28:05 AM (EST)
President Viktor Yanukovich has been dislodged from the office of Presidency on Sunday, and the Ukrainian parliament elected to give Oleksander Turchinov the role of a President.
23-02-2014 23:27:39 PM (EST)
US President Barack Obama has called a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merker to discuss about the growing unrest in Ukraine, and to take effective measures for restoring peace and harmony.
21-02-2014 07:47:54 AM (EST)
Krasnaya Polyana, the skier from Ukraine has declined to ski Friday in acknowledgement of the deaths of the anti-government protestors in her country.
21-02-2014 07:38:19 AM (EST)
Despite the two truces formed since Sunday, the situation in Ukraine has only aggravated. Both these truces crumbled into a bloodbath in Kiev's Maidan or Independence square. Since the time of the crisis, the latest massacre that took place on Thursday, February 20, has also been the worst. Medical officials informed that over 100 people have lost their lives in the crisis. Moreover, three police personnel have been killed, as per the report of the Interior Ministry. The hotel has been turned into a prognostic center, replete with the bodies covered with the bloodied sheets. John Kerry, the Secretary of US along with the others, has urged to denounce the violence and take concrete measures.
21-02-2014 04:04:18 AM (EST)

Polar Vortex

As many people across states in the US Midwest and East Coast face severe snowstorms, made worse by freezing winds blowing down in a Polar Vortex, we help you understand this extreme weather phenomenon.

What is a Polar Vortex?
A vortex, as the name suggests, is a rapidly rotating current, in this case of air, very cold air, as it's coming all the way down from the North Pole.
A Polar Vortex usually consists of a dense current of cold air that blows around the North Pole in a counterclockwise direction, well above the surface of the earth. It is a polar weather system that consists of upper-level winds causing an area of low pressure. Because the winds blow in a circular manner they remain in the northern Polar region.

Why has the Polar Vortex come down to the US this year?

At times the circumpolar winds can become distorted and start moving southwards. Thus, cold currents of air start affecting regions that do not usually experience such extremely cold temperatures.

How often does a Polar Vortex move out of its usual range?
As the upper-level air currents rotate, they can lose speed and cause the vortex to change its shape. This distortion in the vortex can cause it to move out of its usual zone and form a jet stream that brings cold air to more southern regions. Also known as Arctic Oscillation, this shift from positive phases (when the cold winds remain in the Arctic zone) to negative phases (when the cold winds affect other regions) can happen several times a year in different regions. The cold winds could affect Asia, Europe, or North America, any part of the northern hemisphere that can be reached by Polar winds blowing southward.

Is a Polar Vortex as dangerous as a Hurricane or Tornado?
A Polar Vortex is a much wider weather system and usually affects a larger region over a longer period of time. When the cold air front meets local warmer air fronts this can lead to the formation of localized winter storms. The intense chill caused by the Polar Vortex is not to be taken lightly however, as the sudden drops in temperature and almost Arctic conditions can cause hypothermia and frostbite if people aren't careful and take adequate precautions against the inclement weather.

How do I protect myself if a Polar Vortex affects where I live?

Follow sensible precautions to fight the intense cold. Stay indoors, stock up on food and water, and ensure your home has adequate heating and insulation. Do not go outdoors unless absolutely necessary. If you do have to go outdoors ensure your vehicle can negotiate the snowbound streets. Preferably do not go out alone or without communications equipment in case you get caught in a snowdrift.

When was the last time a Polar Vortex came southwards?
Cold fronts moving down from the North Pole are not uncommon and cause cold snaps in different regions of the northern hemisphere. In 2012 many part of Europe faced a severe winter because a Polar Vortex affected northern Europe.

While North America has faced intense cold, Europe has seen severe storms recently. Are these episodes of bad weather related?
The wind patterns in the northern hemisphere are such that the jet stream near Ireland and the UK has resulted in many storms across Britain and north-western Europe. As the cold front from the Arctic collides with moist air from the Atlantic, cold Arctic winds have spiraled across North America, while moist Atlantic winds have moved across the coast of northern Europe bringing heavy rain, storm surges and flooding to some areas.

Is the Polar Vortex a consequence of Global Warming?

Meteorologists are analyzing global weather patterns to understand this. It is possible that extreme weather events such as a Polar Vortex could be caused due to excessive melting of Arctic Ice, followed by evaporation from the northern seas, and dense moisture-laden cold winds circulating in a distorted manner. The cold front that has moved over North America could be a consequence of this related weather pattern.

Last Updated : January 08, 2014

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