By Brian K Sullivan
High in the atmosphere above the North Pole, a spike in temperatures may soon send bone-rattling chills spilling down through the Northern Hemisphere.
The icy blasts threatening to sweep across North America, Europe and Asia starting in late January are from the same weather pattern that triggered the 2014 cold snap known as the polar vortex, which plunged temperatures in Chicago to minus 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 27 Celsius).
It’s common during winter for frigid air to roar down from the Arctic. But the cold mostly stayed bottled up around the North Pole in the season of 2019-2020. Now, after a nearly two-year hiatus, winter is threatening to return at last.
“Things are really setting up for an exciting period for cold and snow,” said Todd Crawford, lead meteorologist with the Weather Co., an IBM business.
To be clear, forecasters aren’t expecting the cold to be as brutal as during the 2014 polar vortex, which was an extreme example of Arctic weather marauding south. But it will feel unmistakably like winter.