Temperatures could creep up into the 50s this weekend! And then plummet back down to the teens next week! We'll have more on the extended forecast as it develops, but some outlets are already predicting that "another big chunk of arctic air returns next week." It's important to know your enemy, so take a minute to familiarize yourself with this animated video from NASA showing how the first Polar Vortex swept us off our feet.
A persistent pattern of winds spins high above the Arctic in winter. The winds, known as the polar vortex, typically blow in a fairly tight circular formation. But in late December 2013 and early January 2014, the winds loosened and frigid Arctic air spilled farther south than usual, deep into the continental United States.
On Jan. 6, 2014, alone, approximately 50 daily record low temperatures were set, from Colorado to Alabama to New York, according to the National Weather Service. In some places temperatures were 40 degrees Fahrenheit colder than average.
As far as next week's forecast goes, meteorologist Nick Troiano tells NJ.com, “I’m seeing an extended period of very cold temperatures. We’re going back to highs in the 20s and lows in the single digits or perhaps below zero. The subtropical jet stream is going to become more active as well and you could have a case where it phases with the northern jet stream. If that happens, you could be looking at a big storm like what we had last week." Thanks, Nick. We all appreciate your candor.