OK, to be fair, the polar vortex that’s heading our way next week isn't technically a polar vortex—but it is going to bring significantly cooler weather, according to the Washington Post. Temperatures are predicted to be 10 to 30 degrees lower than average for July in the northern and northeastern parts of the US, with some Midwest and Great Lakes regions seeing highs in the 50s and 60s. The Post has bestowed a variety of names—including the "polar vortex’s revenge" and the "poor man’s polar vortex"—on the coming weather, but weather sticklers explain that while it resembles the cold front that blasted a good portion of the country in January, it’s quite different.
What we’ll experience this time around is actually related to the tropospheric circumpolar vortex. "The polar vortex exists in the stratosphere and not in the troposphere," explains Weather Underground. "So laying the blame for this anomalously cold outbreak of air on the polar vortex is incorrect—this air bubble is in an altitude much lower than where the polar vortex is located." Meanwhile, Mashable points out that May 2014 was listed by NASA as the world’s hottest May on record and predicts that June and July will probably crack the top five. If that doesn’t mitigate your disappointment at having to pull a sweatshirt out of storage in the middle of July, here are some gentle reminders that next week probably won't be so bad after all. (Read more polar vortex stories.)