When Will the Polar Vortex Return?

By , AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist
January 15, 2014; 2:11 AM ET
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After a surge of mild air, there are signs of another arctic blast on the way, including a glancing blow from the polar vortex.

While the timing of the the next polar plunge is challenging, it is not expected to be as extreme as that of Jan. 5-8, 2014.

"Following the retreat of arctic air this weekend, waves of progressively colder will move southward over Canada this week," AccuWeather.com Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said.

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The pattern will continue to evolve, bringing colder and colder air first to the southern Canada Prairies and the northern Plains, next to the Midwest then finally the East.

Ahead of the first push of cold air, temperatures will average above normal. The first push of cold air will sweep over the northern Plains Monday, the lower Mississippi Valley and Midwest Tuesday and then parts of the East Wednesday.

The main thrust of the cold air will follow up a couple of days later. However, for people concerned about the severity of the cold there is good news.

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"We will likely see a piece of the polar vortex break off and set up just north of the Great Lakes beginning around Jan. 16," Pastelok stated.

"This next main arctic blast will not rival, nor will be as extensive as the event last week," Pastelok said.

While the vortex will be present in the upper levels of the atmosphere, air at the surface will be more of a mix of arctic and Pacific air.

"During last week's visit from the polar vortex, the air was entirely from the Arctic," Pastelok added.

This time, it appears the temperature readings for most areas across the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians will remain above zero during the day and night. Daytime temperatures will also be above zero in most locations over the northern Plains and Upper Midwest.

However, when combined with wind and other atmospheric conditions, AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures will be near to below zero at times over much of the North Central states and interior Northeast toward the end of the week.

The movement of cold air past the Great Lakes will bring more rounds of lake-effect snow.


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