Polar Vortex Returns with a Vengeance

In light of the season’s first snowfall on Nov. 13, anticipation for the predicted cold winter ahead has already commenced. During the wintertime, snow plays an important role in the lives of students, both young and old.

Noticing just a couple of flurries out the window can cause excitement, panic, and hopes for an early dismissal in the hearts of even the most stoic individuals. And everyone knows that absolutely nothing is worse than waking up on a frosty morning and discovering that the two-hour delay you were banking on did not pull through.

Not only does the possibility of snow derail focus in classrooms, but it is also the single most prevalent cause for missing or incomplete homework in the winter months. Students have and will continue to realize that even the best of weathermen may overestimate the amount of precipitation from time to time. However, students have made it clear that it never hurts to hope.

When asked whether this winter would be a hard one, a vast majority of Mt. Hebron students definitively stated, “Yes!” citing sources such as the Farmer’s Almanac, various news networks and rumors transferred by word of mouth.

The Farmer’s Almanac, a meteorological reference book used since 1818, predicts North American weather by using a “secret formula.” The data derived from studying sunspots, magnetic storms on the face of the sun, is considered alongside historical climate patterns in order to predict the weather for the upcoming year. The Almanac claims that its formulas are 80-85% accurate and predicts that this upcoming winter will be particularly harsh.

On Nov. 19, residents of Buffalo, NY were witnessed nearly 7 feet of snowfall (Photo courtesy of CNN).

On Nov. 19, residents of Buffalo, NY witnessed nearly 7 feet of snowfall (Photo courtesy of CNN).

The severity of this upcoming winter is said to stem from a polar vortex, a large pocket of the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere, which may sit over much of the Northeastern part of the United States during the winter season if it gets dislodged farther south than usual.

Still recovering from last year’s snowfall totals, Mt. Hebron students have mixed opinions on snow days. A large portion of this year’s seniors have stated that they want as many snow days as possible because of their set graduation date in May.

Senior Kamyar Rasouli explained, “I love snow days, especially since [seniors] don’t have to make those days up.”

On the other end of the spectrum, junior Casey Cashmark stated, “I feel like we should get the school year over with so we get out earlier and have more summer.”

As each snow day is added to the end of the year, students helplessly watch their summer disappear. As of now, the earliest possible last day of school would occur on June 10, assuming there are no “inclement weather days.”

However, in accordance with Howard’s County’s tendency to close with the slightest snowfall, the end date may very well be pushed back past this date, even with the five built-in inclement weather days. The question all students and staff must consider this holiday season is whether these short breaks from the daily routine in the wintertime are worth the fewer days of summer vacation.

“I like them when they happen, but I hate them in June,” said Technology Education teacher Mr. Robert Gibbons when asked about his opinion on snow days.

Students’ predictions on the greatest amount of snowfall within a single day have varied from six inches to five feet. But in reality, a prediction is quite simply that, a prediction. One can never be completely sure of what a winter will actually hold, nor of the effect it will have on the school schedule. All you can do is let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

Categories: Opinions

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