Polar Vortex: 2015

Polar Vortex 2015 is on its way. Preparations are almost in full swing as people gather supplies in an attempt to prepare for the predicted winds, cold temperatures and snow.

Many families are taking trips to the stores before the storms come crashing in. Recommended items include jumper cables to restart cars, first aid kit in case of injuries, shovels to move snow or debris, nonperishable food supply in case of an isolated situation, scrapers to clean car windows, blankets to keep warm and flashlights.

The normal snow fall in the Maryland, D.C. and Virginia area is on average 14.6 inches annually, but people are anticipating an above average snowfall this year. Junior Brandon Taylor and his mother are already preparing. “It may seem too soon, but better to be safe than sorry,” Taylor said. “We would like to get things together before people start scrambling; we don’t want to be reckless.”

One of the most common occurrences due to the polar vortexes include school cancelations and power outages. The Edison Electric Institute has stated that 70 percent of power outages in the United States are weather related such as lighting, ice, high winds and rain all of which could be featured this winter.

The county makes the decision to cancel school after inspecting roads and sidewalks as well as anticipating power outages that may result in early release, early dismissal or school cancelations. Former elementary school patrol Stefan Piedrasanta said, “It’s always going to snow in the winter, but it is important for the county to know when it is or is not safe for kids to go to school.”

Congressional Research Service website has stated that ice storms cause 5 percent of power outages and other cold weather situations result in 5.5 percent of power outages. Rockville resident Lucy Cannon is concerned of power outages due to her phobia of not having electricity. “They scare me,” Cannon said. “There is no way to get help; I am simply trapped in darkness.”