Weakening polar vortex may yield longer, harsher winters in North America

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon

By: Michael Kuhne, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer

Longer, harsher winters may be in store for the portions of North America as the polar vortex continues to weaken and shifts, according to a new study.

The polar vortex is a large pocket of frigid air that hovers above the polar regions, and is most prominent in the winter months.

Researchers at China's Lanzhou University penned the study, which was published in Nature Climate Change last month.

Look back at Winter Storm Jonas:

53 PHOTOS
#Blizzard2016 aka Winter Storm Jonas slams the east coast
See Gallery
#Blizzard2016 aka Winter Storm Jonas slams the east coast
Snow is cleared along a street in the Upper West Side neighborhood of New York Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in the wake of a storm that dumped heavy snow along the East Coast. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Steven Campbell of Dallas Texas digs out his car as area residents dig out from a massive snowstorm in Richmond, Va., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Campbell said it was the most snow he had seen in his lifetime and was regretful that he parked on a corner that got his car trapped by packed snow. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Crews work to remove the snow from I-395 Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Shawn Covelly knocks snow off his awning, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Towson, Md. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
Johna McVey, of Falmouth, Mass., shovels out her car in front of her home Sunday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Falmouth. A massive winter storm buried much of the U.S. East Coast in a foot or more of snow Saturday. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
A man makes his way through the snow, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 in the Georgetown area of Washington. A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill Saturday, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow, stranding tens of thousands of travelers and shutting down the nation's capital and its largest city. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A massive winter storm system pummeled the eastern United States in late January 2016, with two low-pressure systems merging into a potent nor’easter that dropped heavy snow from Virginia to New England. By late afternoon on Jan. 23, snowfall totals were approaching records in several states, and hurricane-force winds were battering the coastlines and leading to serious flooding. The storm was expected to continue through the morning of Jan. 24.

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite acquired this image of the storm system at 2:15 a.m. EST on Jan. 23. It was composed through the use of the VIIRS “day-night band,” which detects faint light signals such as city lights, moonlight, airglow, and auroras. In the image, the clouds are lit from above by the nearly full Moon and from below by the lights of the heavily populated East Coast. The city lights are blurred in places by cloud cover.

(Photo via NASA)

Harrison Feind of Boulder, Colo., takes a selfie with a snowman in front of the White House in Washington, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill Saturday, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow, stranding tens of thousands of travelers and shutting down the nation's capital and its largest city. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
A man uses cross country skies as he goes down M Street NW in the snow, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 in the Georgetown area of Washington. A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill Saturday, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow, stranding tens of thousands of travelers and shutting down the nation's capital and its largest city. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Headstones are nearly covered by snow at Arlington National Cemetery, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 in Arlington, Va. A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill Saturday, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow, stranding tens of thousands of travelers and shutting down the nation's capital and its largest city. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 23: A woman walks in strong winds and heavy snow fall in Central Park on January 23, 2016 in New York City. A major Nor'easter is hitting much of the East Coast and parts of the South as forecasts warn of up to two feet of snow in some areas. (Photo by Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)
A woman walks along Broad Street through a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
TOPSHOT - A man use a skiing on a snow covered street in Manhattan in New York on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Bella Fraker, 10, of Atlanta, stands high on a snow pile as she poses for a family photo in New York's Times Square Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, as a large winter storm rolls up the East Coast. Fraker was in New York for auditions. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
TOPSHOT - A pedestrian walks in the center of a snow-covered residential street in Washington, DC on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman pulls the hood of her coat over her head as she steps out into the snow in Lower Manhattan, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in New York. Millions of Americans awoke to heavy snow outside their doorsteps as a mammoth winter storm crawled up the East Coast. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Pedestrians walk in New York, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. A massive winter storm buried much of the U.S. East Coast in a foot or more of snow by Saturday, shutting down transit in major cities, stranding drivers on snowbound highways, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Gary Utley, 27, of Alexandria, snowboards behind a Jeep driven by his friend, as snow falls, in Alexandria, Va., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill Saturday, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow, stranding tens of thousands of travelers and shutting down the nation's capital and its largest city. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Tyler Ridge, left, Evan Oakes, and Stephen Biggs, relax in a snow fort in the median of Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. A massive winter storm buried much of the U.S. East Coast in a foot or more of snow by Saturday, shutting down transit in major cities, stranding drivers on snowbound highways, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
A van drives through a flooded street as ice and snow prevent drainage Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Atlantic City, N.J. Most of the state was facing a blizzard warning from Friday evening until Sunday that called for up to 24 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
A person plows snow off a bridge at a ferry terminal during a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Jersey City, N.J. Towns across the state are hunkering down during a major snowstorm that hit overnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A commuter walks into the Hoboken PATH train station during a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Hoboken, N.J. Towns across the state are hunkering down during the major snowstorm that hit overnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

January 22, 2016

Scott Kelly ‏(@StationCDRKelly): Massive #snowstorm blanketing #EastCoast clearly visible from @Space_Station! Stay safe! #blizzard2016 #YearInSpace

A motorist shovels snow to free up a vehicle on the New Jersey Turnpike during a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Port Reading, N.J. Towns across the state are hunkering down during a major snowstorm that hit overnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
TOPSHOT - A man lays in a pile of snow in Times Square on January 23, 2016 in New York. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on January 23, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / Don EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
People walk on a snow-covered intersection during a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Jersey City, N.J. Towns across the state are hunkering down during a major snowstorm that hit overnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
CAPE MAY, NEW JERSEY - JANUARY 23: Waves crash on the beach on January 23, 2016 in Cape May, New Jersey. A major snowstorm is upon the East Coast this weekend with some areas expected to receive over a foot of snow. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: Nuns from the Fraternite Notre-Dame in Chicago, Illinois are covered in newly fallen snow as they walk along Constitution Avenue while snow begins to accumulate January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. A major snowstorm is forecasted for the East Coast this weekend with some areas expected to receive up to 1-2 feet of snow. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Christian Jimenez, 7, of Towson, Md., walks through snow to get to a convenience store in Towson, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. One in seven Americans will get at least half a foot of snow outside their homes when this weekend's big storm has finished delivering blizzards, gale-force winds, whiteout conditions and flooding to much of the eastern United States. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)
Snow covers cars parked in Washington on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on Saturday, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Jessica Ourisman, a travel advisor from Baltimore, looks up at the buildings around the New York Stock Exchange while touring lower Manhattan with a group of other advisors during a snow storm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Heavy snow falls in New York's Upper West Side, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, as a large winter storm rolls up the East Coast. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Dan Rafalin, left, lifts his daughter, Delila Rafalin, 5, while playing in heavy snowfall with their family on Independence Mall, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
TOPSHOT - A man pushing a snow plough during a snowstorm January 22, 2016 in New York. / AFP / FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks on snow covered Thomas Circle in Washington on January 23, 2016. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on Saturday, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / Mladen ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A girl shovels snow during a winter storm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 22: A snowplow cleans up snow on Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the U.S. Capitol January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. A winter snowstorm is forecasted for the East Coast this weekend with prediction of up to 30 inches of snow for the DC area. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - The White House is seen during a snowstorm in Washington January 22, 2016. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A grocery store employee collects shopping carts from a parking lot during a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Jersey City, N.J. Towns across the state are hunkering down during the major snowstorm that hit overnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
A boy crashes while sledding down the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art during a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Sean Jackson and Gina Del Tatto push their child, Hayes Jackson, in a stroller as heavy snow falls in New York's Upper West Side, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, as a large winter storm rolls up the East Coast. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
A man walks by Federal Hall National Memorial during a snow storm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in New York. Millions of Americans awoke to heavy snow outside their doorsteps as a mammoth winter storm crawled up the East Coast. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Michelle Navarre Cleary pulls a bag as she walks on K Street in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, as snow continues to fall. With long lead time from forecasters and stern warnings from authorities, tens of millions of residents from northern Georgia to New Jersey shuttered themselves inside to wait out a mammoth storm that made travel treacherous and could dump 2 feet or more of snow in some areas. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)
A masked man walks on King Street as snow falls in Alexandria, Va., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. A blizzard with hurricane-force winds brought much of the East Coast to a standstill Saturday, dumping as much as 3 feet of snow, stranding tens of thousands of travelers and shutting down the nation's capital and its largest city. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
A tractor trailer rig drives during a snowstorm along the Atlantic City Expressway, Friday, Jan. 22, 2016, near Atlantic City. Most of the state was facing a blizzard warning from Friday evening until Sunday that called for up to 24 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
TOPSHOT - People cross 15ht Street during a snowstorm in Washington January 22, 2016. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A vehicle crosses a snow-covered road near the Holland Tunnel during a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Jersey City, N.J. Towns across the state are hunkering down during a major snowstorm that hit overnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Coastal flooding from a winter snowstorm inundates houses along W. 7th Avenue, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in North Wildwood, N.J. (AP Photo/Robb Nunzio)
A Homeless covers from the snow in Central park on January 23, 2016 in New York. A deadly blizzard with bone-chilling winds and potentially record-breaking snowfall slammed the eastern US on Saturday, as officials urged millions in the storm's path to seek shelter -- warning the worst is yet to come. US news reports said at least eight people had died by late Friday from causes related to the monster snowstorm, which is expected to last until early Sunday. / AFP / KENA BETANCUR (Photo credit should read KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks past a restaurant during a snowstorm January 22, 2016 in Washington, DC. Thousands of flights were cancelled and supermarket shelves were left bare Friday as millions of Americans hunkered down for a winter storm expected to dump historic amounts of snow in the eastern United States. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
A person walks on a snow-covered path at Pier A Park during a snowstorm, Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in Hoboken, N.J. Towns across the state are hunkering down during a major snowstorm that hit overnight. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 22: Vehicles move along Interstate 40 as an overhead sign indicates 'Winter Weather Warning In Effect' during a winter storm on January 22, 2016 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. A major snowstorm is forecasted for the East Coast this weekend with some areas getting a possible one to two feet of snow. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Lanzhou researchers found that a loss of sea ice in the Arctic regions due to rising temperatures in the Barents-Kara seas, along with an increase in snow cover over Europe and Asia, has caused the polar vortex to weaken. The pocket of cold air has in turn shifted toward Eurasia.

This movement could lead to colder and possibly extended winter seasons for portions of North America and Eurasia, according to the study.

"With warming and ridging in the Kara Sea, this typically allows for less ice cover but also is a conducive atmospheric pattern for lower temperatures in the North American mid-latitudes," AccuWeather Meteorologist Edward Vallee said.

The polar vortex in winter can extend well into the atmosphere and at times be more than 100,000 feet deep, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bob Smerbeck said.

A weaker polar vortex allows the stratosphere, or a distant part of the Earth's atmosphere, to warm, while a stronger one prevents that process, according to Vallee.

"The stratospheric vortex typically governs the tropospheric vortex [in the lower part of the Earth's atmosphere] during the winter months and is based on polar heating and cooling," Vallee said.

"As the stratosphere warms in winter, it can reverse the wind direction below it," he said.

Learn more about the New York City blizzard of 1947:

8 PHOTOS
New York City blizzard of 1947
See Gallery
New York City blizzard of 1947
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 27: Daily News back page headline Saturday, December 27, 1947 , TRAINS AND AUTOS STALLED, Frozen Artery, Snow Chokes the Lincoln Tunnel, 1947 Snowstorm (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 26: El train stalled on Third Ave. at 42nd St., after a snowstorm brought the city to a virtual standstill. (Photo by Art Whittaker/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 27: Betty Lou and brother Patrick O'Connor attempt to dig out their father's car out of the snow with toy shovels on 29th St. and Second Ave. after snow storm blankets city. (Photo by Walter Kelleher/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 1947: City sidewalk piled with snow after blizzard. (Photo by Andreas Feininger/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 26: Snowed in Daily News employees bed down in make-shift dormitory during blizzard. (Photo by Leroy Jakob/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - DECEMBER 27: Long Island Rail Road workers begin to clear tracks in Rockaway Park, where trains have not moved for a day after a snow storm. (Photo by Ed Clarity/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1947: 1947 Snowstorm in the Bronx (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

This could block high pressure systems from taking shape in the high latitudes of the Earth, which would increase opportunities for cold in the mid-latitudes.

According to Smerbeck, the southern shift could bring the other end of the polar vortex toward eastern North America, yielding colder winters for the region.

"There are other factors that determine where the vortex sets up," Smerbeck said. "The warm blob over the north Pacific in winter 2013-2014 and the unusually warm waters along the west coast of North America [for the] 2014-2015 winter contributed to a southward dip in the vortex across eastern North America and cold winters in the central and eastern U.S."

Smerbeck said there is a lot of research still being conducted, and that while some researchers may not find the latest study overly convincing, a mechanical connection between the lack of sea ice and the vortex shift as opposed to just a statistical connection should allow for more accurate modeling.

RELATED:
2016-2017 AccuWeather winter forecast
AccuWeather winter weather center
Can woolly bear caterpillars predict how harsh winters will be?

At times during the winter, a warm layer of air will develop high up near the stratosphere over eastern Asia and head toward the stratospheric vortex causing it to weaken by being pinched, displaced or even split. This will cause a portion of the stratospheric vortex to extend farther south.

A stronger polar vortex will hold the cold air northward. When it weakens and shifts away from the pole either by squeezing, splitting or displacement, it will drag cold air with it, Smerbeck added.

"Reduced sea ice over the Barents-Kara seas in the fall leads to a storm track that can increase snow cover over Eurasia and Siberia," he said.

"It has been shown that increases in Eurasian and Siberian snow cover in the fall can launch upper-level warming events that reach into the stratosphere and weaken the stratospheric polar vortex," he said, stating that this Arctic warming can weaken and alter the placement of the polar vortex.

Look back at snowfall in Washington DC last winter:

19 PHOTOS
D.C. celebrates historic snowstorm with a massive snowball fight
See Gallery
D.C. celebrates historic snowstorm with a massive snowball fight
A man dressed as Captain America uses his shield to deflect a snowball during the DC Snowball Fight on Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
A man reacts after being hit with a snowball during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. People throw snow during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A man runs away covered in snow during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. People throw snow during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Young ladies wear animal onesie pajamas during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. People throw snow during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People participate in a giant snowball fight in Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
People using a cardboard box as protection get hit by a snowball during the DC Snowball Fight on Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People take part in the DC Snowball Fight on Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - People participate in a giant snowball fight in Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
A man tosses a snowball while wearing a full helmet and GoPro, during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. People throw snow during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People participate in a giant snowball fight in Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
People participate in a giant snowball fight in Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
A person holds an American Flag during a charge during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
People participate in a giant snowball fight in Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
People take part in the DC Snowball Fight on Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People participate in a giant snowball fight in Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Olivier Douliery (Photo credit should read OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images)
People throw snow during an organized snowball fight at Dupont Circle Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in Washington. Millions of Americans were preparing to dig themselves out Sunday after a mammoth blizzard with hurricane-force winds and record-setting snowfall brought much of the East Coast to an icy standstill. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
A man dressed as a Jedi knight takes part in the DC Snowball Fight in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy throws a snowball at a man dressed as Captain America during the DC Snowball Fight on Dupont Circle in Washington on January 24, 2016. Snowball fights have become a tradition after every major snow storm in the Nation's Capital. A massive blizzard that claimed at least 16 lives in the eastern United States finally appeared to be winding down Sunday, giving snowbound residents the chance to begin digging out. / AFP / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Read Full Story

From Our Partners