High in the atmosphere above the North Pole, a spike in temperatures may soon send bone chilling winds down through the Northern Hemisphere.
The icy blasts threatening to sweep across North America, Europe and Asia starting in late January are from the same weather pattern that triggered the Y 2014 cold snap known as the polar vortex, which plunged temperatures in Chicago to -16F(-27C).
“Things are really setting up for an exciting period for cold and snow,” said the lead meteorologist with the Weather Co.
Forecasters are not expecting the cold to be as brutal as during the Y 2014 polar vortex, which was an extreme example of Arctic weather blowing South. But it will feel unmistakably like winter.
The cold has already descended upon Western Europe and China, sending prices for gas in Spain, and liquefied Nat Gas in Asia, to record highs.
Paris has been 3.5 degrees below normal and Madrid 6.9 degrees cooler, while Beijing temperatures fell to a record low of -9 Thursday, said a meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc.
The vortex of 7 yrs ago kept shoppers indoors, grounded flights and made it harder for shippers to fill product orders. This year, The China Virus has hobbled travel and in-store shopping.
Snowstorms could be a nightmare for delivery services.
Technically, the polar vortex refers to a band of winds that encircle the Arctic and keep the cold locked far to the North. But with that temperature spike, known as sudden stratospheric warming, the band can buckle, allowing frigid air to head South.
That could mean chills anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, a wave of deep cold could give the Great Lakes and East Coast their 1st real blast of Winter weather, along with a storm pattern that delivers snow storms too.
It will be a big shift for the US, where Winter has been mild so far and it may continue.
A sudden stratospheric warming usually leads to a burst of real cold weather, but sometimes it does not happen.
“Many times in the past, the forecast for a cold weather event across the country resulted in a false alarm,” said the lead meteorologist with the Energy Weather Group.
Have a healthy week, Keep the Faith!