By Alejandra Salcedo, Winnipeg, Glen / Francisco Ayala Silva, Arkansas, USA
It's no secret: Manitoba is one of the most algid provinces of Canada. In late January the temperature dropped to -53 degrees Celsius, during the polar vortex that turned vast regions of North America on a carpet of ice and snow. For immigrants from the tropics that is part of survive and fight.
As for the Salvadoran Wendy Ortez, who immigrated to Winnipeg six years ago and had never experienced colder than Central rainy winters.
Wendy has five children, and four of them go to school, which it is six minutes from home. Classes are not suspended, but some parents preferred to leave their children at home.
Pero no Wendy. She walks with children to school two blocks, and in that short distance feels cold to the bone. "It really is not far", she says, “but when he came from school I was scared ". Wendy felt no ears or hands while wearing scarf, hat and two pairs of gloves on each hand. She says laughing, because the course repeats eight times daily because it brings their children to eat at home and in the afternoon two of them have different departure time.
Origin of the cold
Each pole has a vortex floating in your skies. Polar vortices are, and atmospheric pressure therein is lower than in the surrounding areas. Both vortices have more than a thousand kilometers in diameter, and both rotate endlessly.
Vortices begin in the mesosphere, which it is the part of the sky where almost all atmospheric phenomena occur, and reaches the stratosphere. Below that is a colossal column arctic air mass, and dense frost.
Vortices are strengthened in winter and in summer weaken, and that is normal. But the weakening of arctic air flow, It is disorganized and you can create two or more vortices; then glacial arctic air masses undertake the journey south.
It is when the Niagara freezes, Snow covers the roofs of the cars in Winnipeg, people walk on the frozen Great Lakes in Michigan waters and people die. In last week, provinces of central Canada and US Midwest had thermal sensations -52 degrees Celsius, more ice cream than the tundra.
A student of neurosurgery at the University of Vermont, on the northwestern border with Canada, He died in the icy wave of late January. I had 19 years old and police said that I was not enough shelter for arctic temperatures. Another student froze to death in Iowa City, in the heart of West Central US. More than a thousand cars skidded on the snow in New York, before crashing.
Even so, the lowest temperatures of the polar vortices occurred before 1996, according to an article in National Geographic magazine, which ensures that the worst occurred in February 1899. The National Weather Service said there is nothing to be alarmed, only prepare for freezing temperatures.
Winter clothes seems insufficient to counter the extreme cold. Wendy's children these days wear more clothes than usual. That Thursday had three T-shirts, two sweaters, two pairs of pants, three caps, scarf and winter full suit.
When it snows it is worse. Her husband travels a lot because of his work as a driver of heavy transport in Canada and the United States. Wendy is who cleans snow.
"One Palea to make it decent, and then pass machines cleaning the streets and re-take the snow ", dice.
It is at night she works, and the return is to wait for the bus almost 40 minutes. He says he seeks a cafe for shelter, "if not, not hold ".
Despite the years in Canada, Wendy is not used to the cold. Likewise, with such low temperatures can not leave their children to play away from home. Even so, she does not renounce his new homeland. "It's not renege because thanks to God here security and the economy is much better than in other countries, So one makes the effort to stay here and see a better future for (children)”.
Despite freezing temperatures, Canadian society live their daily lives. Nothing paralyzes, everything runs its course it may seem very invivible, for many.