January 8, 2014

Florida to Warm as Polar Vortex Leaves US

Reprieve is on the way from the frigid air and the Polar Vortex that has briefly brought life-threatening conditions to approximately 240 million people in the United States and southern Canada this week.  Both will depart during the second half of this week, and a far-reaching January thaw will begin.
The coldest part of the air will rotate through and depart Tuesday night into Wednesday. As this happens, temperatures will climb out of the cellar from west to east from the Plains to the East Coast.  In some cases, temperatures will hold steady or rise Tuesday night.

Over much of the Central states, South and Northeast, less wind on Wednesday will make for less harsh, less dangerous conditions.  By the weekend, temperatures over most areas affected by the Arctic cold will reach average or above average levels for the middle of January.  Highs will be in the 60s over much of the interior South with 70-degree readings returning to areas along the Gulf Coast.
According to Eliana Dockterman and Bloomberg News, though the coldest spots in Florida’s citrus groves were close to freezing, crops are suffering little from the record-setting cold weather. 
This is not to say that no damage occurred, but it is substantially less than it could have been given the magnitude of the Polar Vortex.
The Arctic blast was given extra momentum by a southward shift of a large cold storm that most of the time hangs out near the Arctic Circle. That storm is called the Polar Vortex.  According to AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson, "We were overdue for a large Arctic outbreak of this intensity."  On average, outbreaks as large and intense as the one that occurred early this week occur once every 10 years. The last far-reaching, bitterly cold blasts occurred in the mid-1990s, during February of 1996 and January of 1994.
By: Alex Sosnowski, Expert Senior Meteorologist – AccuWeather.com & Eliana Dockterman – Time.com

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