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Beloit and the Midwest after the Polar Vortex

This article was originally printed in the Feb. 11, 2019 issue of The Round Table. 

After two days of no school for Beloit College, a treat that hasn’t happened in the last 25 years, extreme freezing temperatures left the Midwest with sheets of black ice and many injuries.

Just a few days after the arctic conditions, rain swept through the midwest warming up the cool grounds. The aftermath of this epic freeze can leave lots of burst pipes, potholes and massive flooding.

Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground firm told the Tampa Bay Times, “I don’t think there’s ever been a case where we’ve seen (such a big) shift in temperatures. Past record-cold waves have not dissipated this quickly. … Here we are going right into spring-like temperatures.”

A rapid rain, sleet, and eventually ice storms after the vortex, froze immediately leaving campus slick and dangerous.

Freezing rain has been falling off and on most of the night and early morning hours,” Bruce Heine said in an email to the campus community on Thursday, Feb. 7. “The Grounds staff have been on campus most of the night salting sidewalks and roads. Many of the sidewalks and roads are still iced over, as the rain washes away the salt.

“The Grounds staff will continue to salt the campus roads and walkways as long as the freezing rain or snow persists,” Heine continued. “Housekeeping and Facilities staff will be helping to keep building entryways salted as much as possible.”

Although classes weren’t canceled college-wide, many faculty members chose not to risk the icy conditions as the didn’t have ice picks to wear throughout their trek through campus.

Temperatures will retreat back to the average 20- to 30-degree range with a few snowfalls, much more regular for a midwestern winter.

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