Polar Vortex Expected to Hit Most of the U.S. Next Week

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If you think it’s cold now, just wait until next week: Winter’s favorite whipping boy, the Polar Vortex, will again rear its ugly head.

After a chilly, snowy weekend and a brief stretch of slightly milder weather early next week, the next cold blast will invade the northern Plains and Upper Midwest by the middle of the week. The frigid air will eventually make its way to the East Coast and Southeast by week’s end.

The cold will be similar in scale and magnitude to the infamous January 2014 Polar Vortex, meteorologist Ryan Maue of WeatherBell Analytics, tweeted Wednesday.

The Polar Vortex is a large area of cold air high up in the atmosphere that normally lives over the poles (as its name suggests) but — thanks to a meandering jet stream — parts of the vortex can slosh down into North America, helping to funnel unspeakably cold air into the central and eastern U.S., like what’s forecast next week.

Just how cold could it get? High temperatures may only reach the single digits for much of the upper Midwest, including Chicago, on Wednesday and Thursday, the Weather Channel said.

“If the GFS were to pan out, we would be in record territory for cold,” the National Weather Service in Chicago said, referring to the Global Forecast System, one of the many computer models that forecasts weather.

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SOURCE: USA Today, Doyle Rice