Another Polar Vortex Is Coming for Us, Apparently

Are you having fun yet?

Good news! The polar vortex, an occasionally misnamed phenomenon that became synonymous with horrifyingly low temperatures across much of the United States last month, was not a one-hit wonder. Indeed, a “vortex” is headed our way again, according to The Atlantic Cities.

Here’s what Weather Underground‘s Jeff Masters has to say about your weather future:

… This ridge [of high pressure] will be accompanied by a return of the cold “Polar Vortex” over the Midwest and Northeast U.S., bringing bitter cold temperatures and strong winds. Temperatures 20°F below normal will likely invade the Upper Midwest on Sunday, and gradually spread southeastwards during the week. The peak cold is predicted to occur late next week, with temperatures 20 – 35° below normal covering much of the eastern 2/3 of the country.

The first so-called polar vortex that hit us mid-January brought record cold temperatures to large areas of the United States and resulted in school closings, flight cancellations, and general unpleasantry. This one promises its own batch of cold temperatures, plus there’s the memory of several  snow storms that hit us in the interim, just for some added winter wonder.

According to Weather Underground‘s Stu Ostro, a polar vortex is actually a term for “a large circulation in the upper atmosphere that has generally west-to-east winds circling the Earth. It’s not a cold wave or a storm.” Still, to the meteorologically challenged among us, the word took on a blurry definition of its own that signified the deeply unpleasant temperatures that engulfed us last month. And properly defined or not, those cold temperatures are on their way back.

Not all polar vortexes (vortices, to be exact) are made equal, presumably, but there’s still a solid shot that we’ll see lower temperatures than normal. Should you need a visual to wrap your head around it, consider this week’s forecast issued  by the NWS Climate Prediction Center, as pointed out by The Atlantic Cities:




Those deep blue colors sitting over Massachusetts suggest a very high probability of below average temperatures next week. Are you having fun yet?