Polar vortex returns; is it actually a good thing?


Anybody tired of the "polar vortex" yet? Hope not, because it's returning soon and will blast the Upper Midwest with another round of very cold weather -- with temperatures perhaps 35 degrees below average by late next week, according to the forecast from KARE 11.

The cold air moves into the area early in the week. High temperatures in the metro area will drop from about 15 degrees on Sunday to 1 degree by Thursday. Lows will hit -15 to -18 by mid-week. And it will remain colder than normal for awhile.

“Abandon all hope for March, at least for the first week or two,” said WCCO director of meteorology Mike Augustyniak. “It’s kind of Polar Vortex 3.0, where the core of the coldest air will spill out of Canada and reach the upper Midwest again.”

While you are probably thinking “enough already,” there is an upside to the new round of bitter cold, in that it will stave off flooding that could occur if the snowpack melts too quickly.

Wired magazine reports there is so much snow on the frozen ground in the central and northeastern U.S. that warm weather and rain could lead to flash floods and ice jams on rivers and streams. So the return of the polar vortex is a blessing in disguise. Parts of the country to the south and east of us are seeing warmer than normal temperatures, which is cause for the concern.

“This week’s thaw will be short-lived, preventing the kind of major flooding that would result if all of the snowpack were to melt in a week,” wrote meteorologist Jeff Masters at Weather Underground.

Still, that may not cheer up those of us who have experienced the bone-chilling cold the polar vortex has delivered to us twice already this winter.

 In fact, it looks as though this will be the coldest winter we’ve had in 35 years, and one of the top 10 all-time coldest, according to the Minnesota Climatology Working Group.

Next Up

mickey moore driver's license shared

Mpls. candidate tries to 'set the record straight' about where he lives

Questions about Ward 9 candidate Mickey Moore's residency are quickly piling up.

Screen Shot 2021-10-21 at 1.49.16 PM

COVID-19 case rate drops in 51 of 87 Minnesota counties

Four of the 10 lowest case rates are metro-area counties.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

Allina mental health workers vote to unionize

Concerns over safety led the workers to unionize.

teacher, coronavirus, covid-19, school, classroom

Minnesota reports COVID deaths of teen student, 2 school staffers

Cases in schools rose again in the past week, though there are signs cases may have peaked.

Proctor football

Investigation of alleged misconduct on Proctor football team nears conclusion

The football team canceled its season and the coach subsequently resigned.

minnesota house of representatives

Minnesota House will continue hybrid operations, require masks in 2022

The Speaker of the House announced the plans in a memo to members and staff on Thursday.

autumn larson settlement

Minneapolis committee OKs $45K payout to woman shot by police during riots

She was hit in the face with a "less lethal" projectile while she was in her car trying to leave the protest.


What NOAA's winter outlook says about Minnesota

A moderate La Niña winter is expected.

Merwin Liquors

Liquor store that has become shooting hotspot seeking to move

The area surrounding Merwin's Liquors has been beset by crime in recent years.


cold winter weather

Chance of snow later this week followed by chunk of polar vortex

That uphill walk to and from school will be a bear.

Charges: Boy, 8, died after mom left him in garage during Polar Vortex

The Twin Cities was experiencing a historic cold snap at the time.