MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — NASA released an infrared animation Thursday of the polar vortex that put Minnesota and much of the upper Midwest in a historic deep freeze this week — and it looks as insidious as it felt.
NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument, located aboard a satellite, caught data of the polar vortex between Jan. 20 and Jan. 29, which was then rendered into a 3-D animated image with the help of NASA’s Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU).
The result? A ghoulish, purple and blue tarantula, wiggling and writhing around the Arctic Circle, Canada and the Midwest.
The polar vortex provided Minnesota with its coldest weather in about 23 years. The coldest air temperature — minus-48 degrees — was registered near Park Rapids, while the coldest wind chill read was minus-66 degrees near Lake of the Woods.