Polar Vortex Sends Artic Blast Across Much of Deep South; Second Storm System Will Bring More Snow

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Temperatures are expected to plummet this week as the polar vortex, a weather phenomenon that forces cold air from the stratosphere, pushes an unseasonable blast of freezing cold air across much of the nation.

While the polar vortex stretches deep with cities as far south as Atlanta experiencing temperatures in the 20’s, states north of Georgia can expect severe cold, frigid air and icy temperatures.

With temperatures falling and holiday shopping and traveling increasing drivers should be prepared for unexpected and fast moving road changes. Be sure to have a winter road kit, a couple of blankets, water, flashlight/batteries, extra phone batteries, energy bars, a bag of salt, a shovel, and be aware of the weather pattern of your destination.

In addition to the glacial cold, a second winter storm is marching across the Northwest, Rockies, Midwest and northeast this weekend with significant snow totals expected. A quick rise in temperatures spare many as a warm weather from the south push the snow out of picture for much of the mid-west by Saturday mid-day.

Wednesday has the snow/rain mix originating on the west coast fortified by a significant arctic blast from the Gulf of Alaska. This system keeps temperatures hovering near freezing with snow expected in the higher elevations and Pacific Northwest.

By Friday, strengthened by already cold air, the second winter storm system grips the northwest with extremely cold temperatures. Billings, Montana will see a low of 2C with the snow band stretching from Boise, Idaho to Chicago, Illinois, and all points north. Snow/ice mix band is limited. All points north of Kansas City, Missouri will see some mix of this winter blast.

Saturday the storm moves into the mid-west and northeast with the rain and warmer temperatures extending as far north as Cincinnati, Ohio at 51C and even Cleveland usually effected by Lake Effect snow will be one the pinnacle of the rain/warmer weather peak.

To either side of those warm temperatures are very chilly, artic air, with icy, snow mix. Interior regions including Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, and the extreme northeast will see the most snow.

Heavy lake effect snow totals are expected along Michigan western shore and Lake Erie’s eastern border hitting Buffalo and Syracuse. Snowfall totals will be light in throughout much of the Midwest with 2-4 inches expected.

From Cleveland, as far north as Burlington, Vermont snow totals will be significantly higher with 6-12 inches expected. The Northeast corridor, Portland, Hartford, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington escape much of the heavier snow with accumulation expected in the 2-4-inch area. 

Image courtesy of the Weather Channel Twitter feed and used with permission.