Why the Polar Vortex Split is causing Americans to feel #donewithwinter

No matter where you live right now in the United States, you’re most likely dealing with some pretty dramatic weather. Or at least more dramatic than you’re used to! Social media has been talking up a storm (there I go again with the puns) about the polar vortex fragmentation, causing intense weather shifts all over North America and other areas of the world. For the sake of this blog, I’m going to focus on the US.

As we all know, social media is an easy outlet to share our thoughts, opinions and events going on in our lives. The creation of hashtag (pound sign – #) has become a popular communications tool that social media users use to connect and create an inner circle of people interested in a particular topic/event. When Chris Messina, a social technology expert, first came up with the hashtag idea and made his first post on Twitter utilizing it back in August of 2007 he was uncertain whether or not hashtags would become popular.

Today, hashtags are used in millions of posts every single day, which leads me to a popular one going around right now. Due to the drastic climate changes, the hashtag “#donewithwinter” is very popular right now.

On AccuWeather, I found a recently posted news article based off of a WGN Morning News in Chicago story covered just a couple days earlier. The story titled, “Woman’s profane reaction to brutal winter leaves news anchors chuckling — and it probably will leave you laughing, too,” was created as a light-hearted story for viewers to relate to, which it does, but it also depicts the intense weather conditions that Americans in large parts of the US are experiencing.

And although this news story did not create #donewithwinter, as it has been used since before 2015, WGN Morning News in Chicago most likely chose to connect this popular hashtag to its news story due to its relevance, as well as, to reach a larger audience.

The following post was tweeted back in late March of 2018 by @capitalweather, which features a great visual representation of what a vortex split looks like:

Media coverage, such as Judy Ross’s story, is valuable news not only because it showcases a sweet story, but it also sheds light on a serious environmental topic. The cause of the polar vortex? Global warming.

According to Dr. Amy Butler, an atmospheric scientist specializing in stratospheric warming at the University of Colorado’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, “despite the magnitude of this warming, these events aren’t unusual, typically occurring at least once every other cold season.” Unfortunately, we have now experienced this vortex split two years in a row.

The ongoing global warming controversy continues to be debated between politicians and environmentalist, which drive the conversation to media channels; especially social media.


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