Weather In-Depth: The polar vortex is coming
There has already been several episodes of wild winter weather this season, but this is with one notable exception. Where are the frigid temperatures? It appears temperatures will begin to change later this weekend and early next week.
Over the last two weeks Western New York has measured temperatures that have run at normal to above normal. However, there will be a transformation in this pattern over the next 10 days with the temperature dropping Sunday — and once we get that mid-winter weather, I think it is going to stay for a little while. How do we know this will happen? First, the bitter cold is currently located over northern Canada at the Yukon. At that location the temperature is at 45 degrees below zero and that is not the wind chill, but the actual air temperature. Second, we see the atmospheric mechanism that will help push that arctic air south. It is the polar vortex that is located near the North Pole. Usually the polar jet stream helps to keep this extreme cold in place, but every once in a while the jet will start to weaken and break down and this allows at least a portion of that arctic air to move to the south. This process is already starting to happen, and it will have an impact in Western New York for Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.
We see this arctic air eventually crossing the Great Lakes and, especially with the lake water being relatively mild, snow squalls will likely become an issue. Initially, it appears this will be a Lake Erie snow squall that will affect communities south and west of Rochester. This begs the question, what will this mean for the Buffalo Bills playoff game on Sunday? Stay tuned!