Polar Vortex to Blanket Midwest, Plains with Frigid Temperatures

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Winter storm above North America

A massive swirling storm at one of the Earth’s poles also known as a polar vortex is behind the recent snowstorms in Midwest and Northeast, experts say. And if you thought last week was cold, you should brace for more bitter temperatures this week.

Millions of people are preparing for bitterly cold temperatures and a new wave of storms sweeping the Midwest and Northeast through Wednesday. The Weather Channel predicts weather conditions would pair with high pressures. So, get ready for even more shivering temperatures into the weekend.

Experts at The National Weather Service confirmed the news and issued storm warnings for large swaths of the Northeast and Great Lakes. The NWS recommends staying home if you don’t have to drive anywhere.

Forecasters expect 3 inches of snow in the two areas which could turn into a foot. The worst hit areas will be the regions north of Interstate 80 including Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York state. In Ohio, the northeast could be blanketed with as many as 8 inches of snow.

The Plains should get ready for a cocktail of rain and snow which could spur ice on the streets. Temperatures should sink 15 to 30 degrees below the average. As a result, cold rain might shower the East and Midwest over the next days.

The harsh winter conditions accounted for 882 crashes over the weekend. Fortunately, there were no deaths. In Chicago, airports canceled 1,400 flights.

Experts explained a wave of Arctic air is behind the mayhem. Reportedly, a polar vortex is causing the bitter temperatures in Northern America. Polar vortices form at both poles in areas of low pressure. When a polar vortex pops up south it hits the U.S. with harsh temperatures.

Researchers said a polar vortex stands above the North or South pole all year long. But, around Christmas time it loses strength as the jet stream ferries cold air to lower latitudes.

Weather experts said a polar vortex emerges high in the stratosphere, while extreme weather conditions occur in the lower level of the atmosphere. The public first learned about polar vortices’ existence in 2014 during an extremely cold winter.

However, polar vortices are not new. One expert said he found the term mentioned in documents dating back to the Civil War. What’s more, a polar vortex does not vanish. It just grows stronger or weaker and thus influences the weather around it.

Experts predict brutally cold temperatures for this part of the year if subzero temperatures join forces with storms. And an area doesn’t need a lot of wind for temperatures to sink to new lows. If there’s no wind involved, experts expect single digit temperatures in the Dakotas because of the high latitude and double-digit temperatures in the Northeast.

Moreover, The U.S. is not the only region affected by the vortex. Canada has to deal with the bulk of the chill. Europe and Siberia along with large regions in Asia also have to cope with unusually low temperatures.

Experts noted a polar vortex is a natural phenomenon with no connection to climate change.
Image Source: Wikimedia

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