The Polar Vortex: It’s ba-a-a-ck!

(Image credit: NOAA/ CPC)

The Polar Vortex is coming! The Polar Vortex is coming!

So says AccuWeather: “Arctic outbreaks, major snowstorms may unfold thanks to polar vortex,” the commercial forecasting service said Tuesday.

The Washington Post Capital Weather Gang announced: “The polar vortex is splitting in two, which may lead to weeks of wild winter weather.”

Cold air bottled up in the Arctic could spill into the eastern U.S. for the second half of the month, triggering not only a plunge in temperatures but setting up a stormy trend that could dump big snowfall totals over the Great Lakes States as frigid air moves over still ice-free water.

AccuWeather: “The upcoming major pattern change for much of the Central and Eastern states could lead to a dramatic increase in heating costs during the second half of the month that could spill over into February. Americans may notice a hit to their wallets after mild weather led to lower heating usage in December to early January.”

The Post says the Arctic outbreak may affect weather in the Northern Hemisphere “for weeks to possibly months . . . increasing the potential for paralyzing snowstorms and punishing blasts of Arctic air.”

Despite this being a La Niña winter — which usually delivers a warm and dry season to the Florida peninsula — we’ve been running about 2 degrees below normal in Florida since December 1.

The first week of January will likely end up with above average temps — Miami had a high of 84 and a low of 68 on Sunday — but look for monthly averages to start plunging with forecasts showing temps running as much as 10 degrees below normal this weekend. Highs won’t get out of the 60s even in the southern peninsula, the National Weather Service says.

Tuesday’s GFS forecast model was showing cool to cold temperatures in the Florida peninsula through at least January 18, and the Canadian (CMC) points to lows in the 30s and 40s late this weekend into early next week.

The Climate Prediction Center shows below normal temps in Florida through at least January 19.

According to the Post, though, big impacts from the Polar Vortex on the U.S. are not a done deal, as there is some indication it could affect Europe more than North America.

In Florida, we’ve been accustomed to unusually mild winters for at least the last five years. Fingers crossed that Central and South Florida can avoid the kinds of damaging freezes we saw during the winter of 2010-11.

Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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