Orbital View: A Polar Valentine

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Scott Kelly took this teeth-chattering shot yesterday:

That #polarvortex even looks cold from here! #Burr! #YearInSpace #cold #winter #weather #wx #space #spacestation #iss

A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on

The polar vortex broke Valentine’s Day records across the Northeast:

In Boston, thermometers dipped to minus 9 degrees — the coldest day since Jan. 15, 1957, according to The Weather Channel — while in New York City, Central Park registered minus 1, the lowest reading in 22 years. So it went from Newark, New Jersey, to Hartford, Connecticut, to Watertown, New York, where temperatures plunged to a staggering (and all-time record) minus 37 degrees.

As the Arctic temperatures warm on Presidents Day, snow and freezing rain roll in:

Winter Storm Olympia will continue to produce hazardous travel conditions as it spreads snow and a wintry mix through parts of the East for the start of the week. During the weekend, Olympia brought snow to Midwest, resulting in several multi-vehicle accidents. [CB note: Two people were killed in Minnesota.] The storm has now caused multiple accidents across North Carolina due to icing Monday morning. Various winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings, winter storm watches and freezing rain advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service for Olympia, extending Maine to northeast Georgia. Although precipitation may start as snow or ice in the East Monday into Monday night, many locations will change to rain during the course of the storm, including along the I-95 corridor.

Full weather report here.

(See all Orbital Views here)