Another polar vortex is coming, but it’s not as scary as it sounds

BDN | Micky Bedell

BDN | Micky Bedell

Reuters reported the polar vortex, which last visited in 2014, might hit the northeast as early as this week. That means frigid temperatures and harsh wind chills are coming our way.

The National Weather Service says the polar vortex is no big deal, just prepare for the cold. Its website says:

The polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles. It ALWAYS exists near the poles, but weakens in summer and strengthens in winter. The term “vortex” refers to the counter-clockwise flow of air that helps keep the colder air near the Poles. Many times during winter in the northern hemisphere, the polar vortex will expand, sending cold air southward with the jet stream (see graphic above). This occurs fairly regularly during wintertime and is often associated with large outbreaks of Arctic air in the United States.

With a name like polar vortex, you can almost hear the Storm Center music coming. The NWS wrote that the temperature in Bangor was 2.6 degrees lower than normal during the winter of the vortex.

The term “polar vortex” was coined in 2014, but the weather pattern has existed for far longer. The NWS said that notable polar vortexes happened in 1977, 1982, 1985 and 1989.

Here’s a reminder of what happened in Minnesota from our favorite Canadian weatherman, Frankie MacDonald.

Thanks, Frankie. Stay warm, folks.