Polar Vortex stops alien invasion of CHIBERIA (maybe)

Polar Vortex stops alien invasion of CHIBERIA (maybe)

While the digital elite  shivered over their laptops and updated their status on social media, the polar vortex brought temperatures of -16 and -40 wind chills to the bundled masses  at the bus stops and el platforms of CHIBERIA.

Meanwhile, a battle was going on  in the tree-lined, snow-covered streets. The polar vortex may have stopped an alien invasion  of this city by the Lake.

Normally rotating  in a counterclockwise direction around the North Pole, the   polar vortex was pushed farther south by a high pressure system moving over warm waters of the Pacific Ocean (where Indonesia is),  bringing with it  arctic temperatures not experienced here in almost 30 years!  Many people were too young to remember such extremes, let alone a  Superbowl Championship or leg warmers the first time around.

The  invaders had not been in the city that long, either. No one knows for sure  how they got here, but they were first discovered in this area in 2007, perhaps arriving in a packing crate at Pier 1. Since then, the invasion has been relentless, and seemingly unstoppable.

The aliens found this area completely unsuspecting, unprepared, and ideally suited to their way  of life.

emerald ash borerThe name of these almost unstoppable invaders–Agrilus planipennis–the Emerald Ash Borer. Their target– the many ash trees in backyards and parkways. They have been found in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Iowa, downstate Illinois, and  in leafy neighborhoods of  Chicago, spreading as far  as Brookfield, Plainfield and Bolingbrook.

Adult beetles die off in the cold, but the larvae wait out the winter, hidden under the bark of ash trees, pupating and producing  their own antifreeze!    (How alien is that?!)  But, they are NOT invulnerable. According to a Tribune report, sustained temperatures of -20 and below can kill them.

The subzero temperatures may not have been extreme enough, or lasting long enough to completely defeat the alien invasion.  However, it is possible, a crushing blow has significantly reduced the invading forces.

Spring will tell.  But for now, the polar vortex is receding.

CHIBERIA is melting, like a memory or a dream.

As for the survivors? They will be stronger, and better adapted to the weather, here. There is sure to be a sequel.




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  • I'm usually not a pessimist, but I'm betting on the beetles.

    Interesting take, WG.

  • Well, thank you for reading, AW. Yes, there will be a sequel, I'm sure...humans are resilient, too....

  • Thanks for this perspective. Alien invasion indeed. I've been thinking about how we need these kinds of freezes to kill those horrid viruses we've been seeing of late. Wonder if we'll get enough of the cold to make a difference (ie save us from the aliens!)

  • In reply to Liz Chilsen:

    Liz, thanks so much for reading. We do need the deep freeze! Milder winters of the past few years have helped the spread of these beetle invaders---but what about bees and other insects?

    I really like what you are doing with your photo series of the lake!

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