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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

The Worst of Winter Over? Not So Fast!

The Worst of Winter Over? Not So Fast!

This winter has certainly been one of extremes. A little over a week ago, much of the country was in the grip of a “polar vortex” a weather term many hadn’t heard before that brought blisteringly cold temperatures and sheets of ice falling from the sky.

Now, as warm temperatures have settled in for several days now, some are wondering if winter has packed it up and gone home. But as our editor told a local newspaper last week, the idea that winter only has so much punishment to deal out is a myth.

An early, and brutal, start to winter doesn’t guarantee an early spring, and all the signs point to this winter hanging around for a while longer. The warm weather most areas are experiencing now is just a classic phenomenon known as the “January Thaw,” albeit appearing about a week earlier than normal.

According to Accuweather, the polar vortex is still around, and expected to intensify in the coming weeks:

The polar vortex will get stronger and move farther south later in January, causing cold to intensify in the Midwest and East and drought to build in California and the West.

As the pattern responsible for rounds of nuisance snow and waves of cold air continues into next week, indications are that bitterly cold air will return later in the month courtesy of the polar vortex.

There is the chance the cold may rival that of early January in some areas.

Impact from the new surge of very cold air may include the already familiar risks from below-zero temperatures including life-threatening conditions and frostbite. The cold may be intense enough to cause school closings, frozen pipes and water main breaks. Heating systems may struggle to keep up, people will spend more money keeping their homes and businesses warm and ice will again build up on area rivers. Where the cold is accompanied by snow, travel delays are likely.

Get ready!

Want to know what we’re predicting for the rest of the season? Check our long range forecast!

10 comments

1 Mary Stitch { 01.20.14 at 5:37 pm }

Very dissapointed that you mentioned the drought in Clifornia and West to intensify. It cannot get much worse. I really dread the warm temps coming…all too soon. I fear this state will just burn up! While the east is drowning in snow…I’d give anything to see a few drops of rain. If you dont think this has anything to do with you…just wait til you see the produce prices in a couple of months..

2 Ed Turner { 01.20.14 at 10:13 am }

Polar vortex come on people ,you got some moron weather person watching the movie Day After Tomorrow and they come up with a new catch phrase that they heard in the movie . I don’t know about in your area that movie was on just before the last cold spell then there was this Polar Vortex all over the news .

3 Char { 01.19.14 at 6:52 pm }

In Lakeside, AZ, for the past three years we have been virtually snowed in. This Dec/January is like spring!!! Our economy is affected by the lack of snow, so we are praying for “divine intervention”. Very strange to be in the 60′s in January!!!

4 Peter Kane { 01.19.14 at 6:50 pm }

I think the cold weather will leave sometime around early-to-mid February. After this pattern leaves by the first week of February, we should see less cold in the East and more milder weather. We will see some cold fronts, but not the the extremes what we saw this month. February should average out to be a warmer-than average month in the East with a possibility of an early spring developing.

5 Leah { 01.19.14 at 6:42 pm }

I was just talking with some of my family about this earlier today. We all remember how winters used to be MUCH harsher. Ice storms were more frequent…. (and we live in Mississippi) But now, there are several 24 hour news channels and the Weather Channel all competing for ratings. It’s all so dramatic with the “Polar Vortex” talk and naming the winter storms. Seriously? Everyone go out and buy bread and milk…… “Boris” is coming. haha

6 Wes { 01.19.14 at 2:45 pm }

Winter isn’t what it used to be. I live in minnesota and When I was a kid we always had a bunch of snow and it always came at the beginning of November. I think people are do used to the mild winters and warm temperatures now days that when it does get cold people freak out. It’s winter, I wish it was cold and more snow not this boring crap.

7 Frank { 01.19.14 at 12:59 pm }

Seriously? Deal with no water and -40 weather and then we’ll talk.

8 Mary { 01.19.14 at 12:58 pm }

I agree with Sara, this is winter. Even with the Polar Vortex, I don’t think winter is what it used to be. I live in Wisconsin and I remember years ago we went weeks without ever coming above zero. I don’t like it but like Sara said it is winter. It makes you enjoy the short periods of nice weather so much more. I personally would rather it be cold than really hot. I can always put on more clothes to keep warm but you can only take so much off before the neighbors start wondering about your sanity.

9 Sara { 01.19.14 at 11:13 am }

It’s unfortunate that California is going to have rough times because of this weather. But seriously, it’s January. It’s not May. If we’re still experiencing these sorts of temperatures then, okay, it’s time to panic and get upset about winter not going away any time soon. But seriously, it’s JANUARY. Spring doesn’t officially get here until March. There’s no “punishment”. It’s called life in Winter. Yes, some years are worse than others. Enough fear and panic creation, please!!

10 Pam { 01.19.14 at 10:54 am }

Not good news for Calif. Looks like we are in for a very dry summer with big water restrictions. Haven’t had that in years, but do remember washing my dishes in a plastic tub and then using that water to keep my few roses alive.

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