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Polar Vortex to Reinforce Extremes: Frigid East, Dry West

There is the chance the cold may rival that of early January in some areas

Friday, Jan. 17, 2014
Polar Vortex Weather System Brings Artic Temperatures Across Wide Swath Of U.S.
Morning commuters bundle up against the cold on the morning of January 7, 2014, in New York, United States. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The polar vortex will get stronger and move farther south later in January, causing cold to intensify in the Midwest and East and drought to build in California and the West.

As the pattern responsible for rounds of nuisance snow and waves of cold air continues into next week, indications are that bitterly cold air will return later in the month courtesy of the polar vortex.

There is the chance the cold may rival that of early January in some areas.

Impact from the new surge of very cold air may include the already familiar risks from below-zero temperatures including life-threatening conditions and frostbite. The cold may be intense enough to cause school closings, frozen pipes and water main breaks. Heating systems may struggle to keep up, people will spend more money keeping their homes and businesses warm and ice will again build up on area rivers. Where the cold is accompanied by snow, travel delays are likely.

AccuWeather.com Temperature Forecast Maps
AccuWeather Channel Coming in 2014
Will It Snow on February 2 at East Rutherford, N.J.?

A piece of the polar vortex will continue to hover around Hudson Bay and northern Quebec, Canada, into next week.

In this position, the vortex will continue to act like a giant pinwheel producing a series of weak storms with spotty snow and flurries, as well as brief waves of moderately cold air over southern Canada and the northern United States.

However, during the third and fourth weeks of January, some changes will take place. The high amplitude pattern is forecast to get more extreme. The polar vortex will move farther south and get stronger. The pattern will gradually change the current mixture of Pacific and Arctic air in the Canada Prairies and the North Central United States to all Arctic air. The air will get significantly colder over the Canada Prairies and the much of the eastern half of the nation as a result.

West Impact

Storms from the Pacific Ocean will be blocked from rolling onshore along the West coast.

Warmth in much of the West now will continue, with virtually no chance of rain and probably no snow for the Sierra Nevada in California. Above-average warmth in Alaska will likely get more extreme.

Air stagnation and fog may become more of a problem in parts of the West. The risk of wildfires will continue and may get worse. The drought will worsen.

East Impact

The pattern has the potential to produce days of near- to below-zero cold from the northern Plains to parts of the Midwest, more lasting cold in the Northeast and noteworthy episodes of cold over the interior South.

Since the path of the bitterly cold air will be first directed over the North Central states, the cold will not be quite as severe by the time it reaches the Northeast, similar to that of early January.

Prior to and during the main push of the coldest air later in the month in the East, there may be a large storm or two.

According to senior meteorologist Bernie Rayno, "We could have a storm slice out of the South Central states and into the mid-Atlantic and Northeast that puts down snow."

Any deep snow cover that occurs could make the cold more severe. Deep snow acts as an insulator to the warming effects of the ground.

"If there is no big snow ahead of the cold in the East, it may take more of the extreme out of the cold," senior meteorologist Henry Margusity explained.

The new invasion of frigid air will produce lake-effect snow downwind of areas of open water. While much of Lake Erie has frozen over, most of the other Great Lakes are still open. Some areas immediately downwind of Lake Erie may get colder with this outbreak, compared to the last as a result.

If it is any comfort, during the frigid weather forecast, the daylight will be a bit longer, when compared to just past New Year's Day. However, the few extra minutes of daylight will have minimal effect on the air mass that could rival the early January visit from the polar vortex.

PHOTOS ON SKYE: Dangerous Deep Freeze Pummels Much of US


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I just hope it isn't as bad as a week ago. One burst water pipe is all I can afford.

January 18 2014 at 3:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Funny isn't it? California, a state with 50% of it's border facing the largest ocean on Earth is in the middle of a drought and the governor says cut back 20% in water use. Has God figured out yet that the "Grand Experiment" (humans) isn't working out? Intelligence isn't making up for stupidity when you have a planet covered by a minimum of 17 quadrillion gallons of water and almost no one in areas experiencing drought recommending that desalination even be looked at. Kind of like the car, let's keep driving gasoline engine-propelled vehicles that toxify our atmosphere rather then electric. I suspect that by the time humans figure out that their penchant for moving too slow on all the important things, it'll be too late. By that time the air will be unbreathable and the water undrinkable and you'll have 10 billion humans smacking themselves in the forehead saying "What happened, what did we do wrong?" Duh.

January 18 2014 at 1:34 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Velocity105's comment

How about we look at population first. 1912-1915, about 1 billion humans on the planet. 1974 or so ( when I was 3 going on 4 ) the population crossed the 4 billion mark. 2012, the population crossed 7 billion. Let's see, 6 billion added in 100 years PLUS all the technology and manufacturing and gathering of raw materials to do so going along hand in hand and expanding along side human population. People want to discuss how humans have impacted the global climate and are the biggest contibutor to "Climate Change". Very few want to acknowledge that the vast growth in human population is the potential leading cause to this contribution. Toss all the "Green Tech" at the problem you want...it's not going to put a dent in it until we put a dent in population. Green Tech still requires raw materials, manufacturing, the infastructure to get it in place and yes, a vast amount of oil throughout that process. It's the huge elephant in a room getting smaller and smaller. No, I don't have any answer on how to tackle it. I simply know it's there and it needs to be addressed. Until we do...we don't have a chance in getting anything corrected. More mouths to feed, more ground to need for agriculture and farm animals. More materials for housing. More power needed for homes, factories, other locations. More this, more that, more taken from here more taken from there.........Yet most look the other way while shopping for the latest iPhone or GalaxyS4.....But hey, they can text about the problems of the world on them. All the while more of these things are produced out of plastic...made out of oil. Put in vehicles of various types ( planes, trains and automobiles ) to get them to stores...using oil products to get them to those shelves for tech hungry, greedy hands. Using asphalt roads ( oil ) to do so............

January 18 2014 at 2:15 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

When they figure out how to make a big enough profit from it the plants will be built.

January 18 2014 at 4:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The real issue the people who speak of global warning are trying to teach is that our pollution, in a wide variety of ways, is speeding up the process of the earth's evolution and also contributing to it in a negative manner. Just really think about it. Objectively. We all live on this wonderful planet and I hope we all can work together to make it as healthy as it can be.

January 18 2014 at 1:04 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

Its just weather. some summers are hotter than others, some winters are colder than usual.
What will the agenda addicts use to get their way next?

January 17 2014 at 5:51 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

"global warming , my a##"

January 17 2014 at 2:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mr64clean's comment

It's a mighty warm month in alaska - many days, including today well above freezing. what's your hypothesis for that?

January 18 2014 at 2:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to doonooch's comment

It's called weather, not climate change. The last I heard it's still warm/hot in the desert and areas below the equater and it's cooler/cold in northern clims. Mother Nature is in control, as always.

January 18 2014 at 2:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

For those interested in seeing what's going on with the weather.
Here are two links. The first is a animation of what the polar vortex.
Or in the case of this winter ( vortex's ) have been doing for the last
month or so... The second is a link showing the temperature anomalies
for N. America and the Arctic and the distribution of the cold and
warm air over N. America and the Arctic. for this month.
The image updates daily.

Current conditions - Polar Vortex animation.

Temperature anomalies N. America.

January 17 2014 at 2:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Michael Keohane

I am 75 years old so I remember when they were using the "polar vortex" to promote global cooling. These people are not doing science - just agi-prop!

January 17 2014 at 1:45 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Props to our local forecasters, for calling this what we've been calling it for years; a clipper system.

I guess "clipper system" doesn't sound scary enough.

January 17 2014 at 1:12 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

Oh no! Another "cold front".....or at least that's what they used to be called before the climate change fruitcakes decided to make simple weather patterns and related terms sound more ominous.

January 17 2014 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

global warming .....right lib's?

January 17 2014 at 11:30 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to chuck's comment

Yes, dim wit!

January 17 2014 at 11:36 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

no the idiots are calling it climate change in the winter and global warming in the summer.

January 17 2014 at 12:05 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to HAMMER's comment

I thought the new buzz-word is "Climate change" because it covers both global warming and cooling. Either way, Al Gore is still laughing all the way to the bank because the fools bought his documentary BS.

January 17 2014 at 7:11 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
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