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2021 really is kicking off with a bang, isn't it? Get ready for the possibility of the Polar Vortex making a visit to the Quad Cities in the coming weeks.

Fortunately, it really hasn't been that cold in the Quad Cities during the winter. But that streak of normal winter temperatures may be coming to and end in the next few weeks.

According to CNN, stratospheric warming is occurring at high altitudes above the North Pole which resulting in a spike in temperatures. The rise in temperature in the stratosphere where the Polar Vortex is, could result in a blast of cold Artic air towards the south into the U.S. The only thing meteorologists don't know is where the Artic air will hit and for how long.

The Polar Vortex  a low pressure system that swirls cold air around the polar regions of the globe. The Polar Vortex is always, and has always been there. According to CNN,

"The polar vortex is located in the stratosphere, about 18 miles above Earth's surface, which is well above the jet stream, where planes fly, and where most weather occurs."

Sometimes, the Polar Vortex can sometimes move off the North Pole. When that does happen, it releases cold air much farther south in regions like the North America and Europe.

The reason the Polar Vortex would move off of the North Pole is because of jet stream weakens, or a sudden stratospheric warming (SSW) occurs. Those scenarios are demonstrated by the graphic below.


 

CNN reports that recently, a SSW caused the polar vortex to begin moving away from the North Pole. Even though meteorologists know about the SWW, they don't know yet where that cold air will end up over the next week or two.

There is no need to panic about the Polar Vortex, yet. Meteorologists still don't know if there will even be an impact on the U.S.

Just keep an eye on the weather over the next 7 to 14 days. Oh, and just in case, I would make sure you know where all of your warm clothes are at. Maybe also make sure the battery in your car is fully charged too.

Essential Winter Emergency Kit Items