Polar Vortex: The Most Misused Weather Term of 2014

On the River 2009+

Polar Vortex The Most Misused Weather Term of 2014

The polar vortex is not moving over the United States this week, regardless of what you may have heard or read, but that doesn’t mean that winter weather is not only starting early, but already packing a punch.

The polar vortex is real, and the meteorological community has known about it and used the term for decades. It is an almost always present upper-level circulation that hangs out over the poles. It is not at the surface and is not related to every push of cold air

Remember the first time you heard the term last winter?

Here’s what was happening:

The polar jet stream is like a fence keeping the air influenced by the polar vortex in place.

During the first week of January 2014, the polar jet stream was kinked enough to build a large ridge in the west and allow a lobe of the polar vortex to…

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