Science

Polar Vortex Set to Whip Up Strong Winds, Freezing Temperatures, and Snow

Polar Vortex Set to Whip Up Strong Winds, Freezing Temperatures, and Snow”

Frigid air from Canada is expected to reach the upper Northeast of the United States by Friday evening, as illustrated in this forecast map from the National Weather Service.

For cities like New York, Albany and Hartford, cold rain will be the main focus, but some snow could mix in.

Frost advisories and frost warnings are increasing in the Midwest, and snow is possible for the Northeast and Great Lakes region, with heavy snowfall for northern New England.

Forecasts called for perhaps as much as 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow in the Berkshire Mountains in western MA on Friday into Saturday; an inch or so on grassy areas of central MA, southern New Hampshire and western CT; and rain with a few flakes possible in the Boston area, he said. Weather service observers reported 8 inches in northern New York's Washington County and 9 inches in Shaftsbury, Vermont. Higher elevations further upstate could get more.

As the polar vortex is pulled farther south, record low temperatures are possible as far south as the Gulf Coast. Below average temperatures are expected for most of the East Coast. "It's going to be a pretty good dip in the jet stream". Now the polar vortex behaves in May as you would expect in February or March.

But it didn't spill out into the U.S. this winter.

More news: World Health Organization chief says agency has $1.3 billion funding gap for coronavirus response

The cold in the eastern United States is the result of an unruly lobe of the Arctic vortex descending from the Arctic.

Around this time of year, the polar vortex breaks up, but this breakup is a bit different, said Judah Cohen, a winter storm expert for Atmospheric Environmental Research. One feature of that winter season was a strong zonal, west-to-east-flowing polar vortex.

A low pressure system off the coast of southern New England is pulling cold air down from the north, Alan Dunham, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Norton, Massachusetts, said Thursday.

Plummeting temperatures this weekend will come as a shock to many parts of the North East.

MA hadn't seen measurable snow in May since 2002, while in Manhattan's Central Park, the flakes tied a record set in 1977 for latest snow.

Central Park also saw record-breaking cold temperatures early Saturday, with the mercury dipping down to 34 degrees, the coldest it has been since 1947, Wunsch told The Post.



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