Revenge of the Polar(esque) Vortex

Questions remain as to whether the coming cold snap is a true polar vortex, but either way, the eastern U.S. is about to get much colder

Photo: JGI/Daniel Grill/Blend Images/Corbis

Northeasterners and Midwesterners have only just thawed out after a particularly brutal and traumatizing winter, but meteorologists are warning that an unseasonable cold snap is about to interrupt what is normally one of the hottest weeks of the summer. The meteorological phenomenon "bears a haunting resemblance" to last winter's polar vortex, the Washington Post writes, leading some to dub it "the ghost of the polar vortex" or "the polar vortex's sequel."  

The cold snap is due to a patch of cool air moving east from the Gulf of Alaska. Here's Mashable with more details about what's causing the unseasonable occurrence: 

The strange weather pattern has its roots near Hudson Bay, Canada, where so much of last winter's cold originated. The cold air will be spinning around underneath an area of low pressure at upper levels of the atmosphere, which the jet stream, which is the river of air at about 30,000 feet, is going to steer south, into the U.S., over the weekend.

The dip in the jet stream, known as a "trough," is connected via a long chain of events to once-Super Typhoon Neoguri, which struck Japan on Wednesday as a weakened tropical storm, according to Jeff Masters of Weather Underground.

As a result, places in the Great Lakes region might drop as low as the 40s on Wednesday morning, the Washington Post warns, while much of the east and northeast is predicted to experience temperatures in the 50s and 60s. Other places, such as Detroit, will drop into the low 70s - not quite as severe but still a significant change from the high 80s experienced over the past weeks. 

The low predicted temperatures are annoying for those who just want to enjoy their summer free from any reminders of the winter's horrors. But the upcoming cold snap has also ruffled some feathers at the National Weather Service. As Mashabale reports

The National Weather Service has ordered its forecasters to just quit it already with the use of the meteorological term "polar vortex" when describing a highly unusual weather event set to take place in the United States next week. 

According to the Capital Weather Gang blog, and independently confirmed by Mashable, a memo was emailed from the NWS Central Region to its central region forecast offices, which includes Chicago, telling forecasters not to use the term in any of its communications with the public.

Regardless of what it's called, however, the Washington Post warns that residents should ready their jeans and light jackets, and perhaps reconsider those mid-week trips to the beach. 

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