The Polar Vortex returns next week


Currently a weakened Polar Vortex is sitting still over the Hudson Bay, just above Quebec, minding its own business and causing some mild snowstorms.

[FONT=inherit]Meteorologists are starting to see signs of an impending Polar Vortex sequel that could send the country plunging into a deep freeze. [/FONT]

[FONT=inherit]If you miss the frigid weather from the beginning of January and the fun we had, … then you’re in luck. Because the Polar Vortex is back. According to the Washington Post’s Wes Junker, starting around Tuesday, January 21, and continuing through the end of the month, the weather tea leaves point towards another shot of arctic air creeping down to the U.S. through Canada and engulfing the country in cold. [/FONT]


Just so my pipes don’t freeze again. I just finished repiping half the basement.


I guess cold weather has a new name now. “Polar vortex” makes “cold front” sound more exceptional and news worthy. If it’s really warm, that’s normal, that’s global warming. But if it’s really cold, that’s exceptional, that’s polar winds (very rare stuff) that we shouldn’t count as evidence against the “scientific consensus.”


It’s Iowa, it’s January, supposed to be cold. That said, the low 50’s today is a welcomed break reprive from Winter.


As near as I can tell, polar vortex refers to the persistent low pressure system which sits atop the Arctic. The cold air of the Arctic stays there, ecause of the circular weather pattern of this low pressure.

In past years, a lobe of the polar air might tear loose from the polar vortex and this packet of colder air would be flung southward. I remember these being described as “polar outbreaks.” The northern Midwest of the United States might experience a handful of these exceptionally cold air masses in any given winter.

From what i understand, when the US is said to be experiencing “a polar vortex”, it means that the actual Polar Vortex has thrown a tentacle all the way south. The situation is different from a polar outbreak, in that it is a continuous extension of the polar vortex and not a separate packet of air which spun away from the vortex.

“This is air that is circulating the Arctic,” Freedman said. "In the last couple of days, it’s sort of become lopsided — sort of like a figure skater that has extended their arms and then tripped.

"You know, when a figure skater pulls their arms in, they spin tighter and tighter and faster and faster. But when they put their arms out, they are a little bit slower and a little bit more wobbly and more prone to fall or stop skating at the end of their routine.

“What’s happening now is that a piece of it is down on the other side of the globe, but a piece of it kind of got lopsided and came down on top of us.”

So why did the PV wobble so much as to reach the United States? There are couple explanations. One is that the jet stream has an unusual pattern this year. In the Pacific, it is driving northward into Alaska (bypassing the west coast of the US) It then turns southward, and is diving deep into the US (instead of flowing across the US). This unusual jet stream pattern makes the polar vortex wobbly.

Another factor may be the melting of the Arctic sea ice. The warmer water which results may weaken the polar vortex, which slows down its spin, and as a result, it becomes more wobbly.

I may have some (or all!) of that wrong. But that is a best I can make of the situation.

Whatever the cause, I don’t like the result. :winter:


Yes, the same thing happened in 1918

Looks like it will be cold through Feb 2nd.


Not this kind of cold though.

I did a bit of researching polar vortexes and actually found they are extremely rare, so to have 2 of them within a months time is almost impossible. Makes me think something larger is going on and not being reported. Polar vortexes are also short lived, but our news station said this next one would be sticking around for about 10 days!!! I dont think a polar vortex CAN last that long, but going to check on that to be sure.

I can handle winter cold, which on average is about 35-45 degrees, but when it gets to single digits and below zero, I dont think anyone should have to live in those conditions. If it literally hurts to walk outside…Im sorry, but its time to find a new home far away, the animals are smart enough to know this, but humans dont seem to be LOL


There is a mass of warm water in the Gulf of Alaska that is causing a high pressure ridge that is pushing artic air into South Central and Eastern Canada and the US. This is very similar to what happened in the winters of 1917/1918 and 1993/1994. Both events lasted for a time.

It isn’t unheard of.


This is precipitation vapor for 1/28/14 (forecast). but it shows the extent of the artic and pacific ridge outlined quite well.

Ontario will have lows in the negative 40s Wed morning

hat tip

Watches and warnings are here:


The prediction turned out to be fairly accurate. The large grey area is the cold dry air from the Arctic. The brown swirl is warmer, moister air from the Pacific which is being pushed into northwest Canada, and then swept down along the eastern flank of the Canadian Rockies. The southern edge of the brown swirl goes into Montana and peters out in Wyoming.

I just checked the weather for Great Falls, MT, located along the east flank of the Rockies. The temperature there is currently 23 F, and will dip down to 10 F. They are in the brown swirl of warm air.

In contrast, I am about 500 miles south, out in the central US. Our temperature is currently -2 F and will dip down to -20 F tonight. We are definitely in the gray mass of cold air! :frighten:


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit