Thought We Avoided the Polar Vortex? Not So Fast

Parts of Northeast US may experience rare May snow, record low temps
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2020 11:44 AM CDT
Polar Vortex to Make Surprise Spring Showing
A dusting of snow covers tree branches in Stowe, Vt., on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Wilson Ring)

The northeastern US is about to get a cold spring farewell from the polar vortex, which could bring rare May snowfall and record-low temperatures to some areas over the Mother's Day weekend. Usually the polar vortex is a batch of cold air that stays trapped in the Arctic all winter, but a couple of times during the season, it wanders south and brings bone-chilling cold and snow to Canada and parts of the US. This year, the polar vortex stayed put, and the East had an unusually mild winter season, per the AP. Around this time of year, the polar vortex breaks up, but this breakup is a bit different, said winter storm expert Judah Cohen. "The polar vortex didn't do much the whole winter, but on the way out I guess it kind of sent a message: Just because I didn't do much this winter, don't think I can't," Cohen said.

Forecasts call for perhaps as much as 2 inches of snow in Massachusetts' Berkshire Mountains on Friday into Saturday; an inch or so in central Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and western Connecticut; and rain with a few flakes possible in the Boston area, he said. Upstate New York could see an inch of snow; New York City and the Hudson River Valley will likely see mostly rain, per NWS rep Hunter Tubbs. Temperatures, meanwhile, may plummet to record lows: Freeze warnings are in place for parts of Pennsylvania, with freeze watches stretching into New Jersey and as far south as Maryland. "Definitely below-average temperatures for pretty much the whole East Coast," said National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Dunham.

(Read more polar vortex stories.)

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