Brace Yourself: The Polar Vortex Is Making a Comeback

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The news. This winter is going to be just as miserable as last years.

And the polar vortex is partly to blame. According to the meteorologists at AccuWeather, frigid air is going to seep into the country's midsection and Northeast as early as November, with the polar vortex dropping down from time to time for a shock of even colder weather.

Forecasters expect the brunt of the bone-chilling temps to occur in January and February, when blasts of arctic air could send temperatures below zero and will make you regret ever leaving bed. That sure sounds depressing, but meteorologist Paul Pastelok told AccuWeather.com the weather won't be as bad as last winter's.

Source: AccuWeather

"I think, primarily, we'll see that happening in mid-January into February but again, it's not going to be the same type of situation as we saw last year, not as persistent," he said. "The cold of last season was extreme because it was so persistent. We saw readings that we haven't seen in a long time: 15- to 20-below-zero readings."

People in more than two dozen states from the Southeast to the Northeast felt last year's polar vortex. It's a weather phenomenon where frigid air breaks free from the North Pole and plunges south to areas (i.e., the U.S.) that aren't accustomed to it.

What about snow? That's going to slam much of the eastern part of the country, too. Pastelok expects higher-than-normal snow amounts for cities west of the I-95 corridor, including Baltimore, Harrisburg and Philadelphia.

Travel in and out major cities like Washington, D.C., Boston and New York will also be affected by the snow. He expects around 70 inches of snow, which is well above average, to slam Philadelphia. New York City's total snowfall will also likely be above average.

Looking west. All this news of moisture affecting the east doesn't mean our dry western states will get any relief. Especially in California, where a hazardous drought grips much of the state.

As California suffers through its fourth and most extreme year of drought, the state is in dire need of precipitation this winter.

"California, the northern Sierra and Sierra Nevada are going to be below normal, although I do think that they are going to get enough snow to hold back the drought just a little bit from getting any worse than it is," Pastelok said.

And the little bit of precipitation won't be enough to prevent next year's intense wildfires. December will bring some rain to northern California, but the precipitation will ease off in the following months, making the region drier than normal by February. And after a season of wildfires, the Northwest won't get enough rain to prevent a repeat in 2015. 

There is some good news. At least for skiers, anyway. All of that precipitation affecting the Appalachian Mountains and parts of the California mountains will mean large amounts of snow for winter weather fans. 

So, yay for Bode Miller?

h/t Washington Post 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jordan Valinsky

Jordan is a writer at the Live News desk. He's previously written for The Week, Betabeat, The Daily Dot and CNN.com.

MORE FROM

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.