This winter has certainly been one of extremes. A little over a week ago, much of the country was in the grip of a “polar vortex” a weather term many hadn’t heard before that brought blisteringly cold temperatures and sheets of ice falling from the sky.
Now, as warm temperatures have settled in for several days now, some are wondering if winter has packed it up and gone home. But as our editor told a local newspaper last week, the idea that winter only has so much punishment to deal out is a myth.
An early, and brutal, start to winter doesn’t guarantee an early spring, and all the signs point to this winter hanging around for a while longer. The warm weather most areas are experiencing now is just a classic phenomenon known as the “January Thaw,” albeit appearing about a week earlier than normal.
According to Accuweather, the polar vortex is still around, and expected to intensify in the coming weeks:
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.
Want to know what we’re predicting for the rest of the season? Check our long range forecast!