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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

The Polar Vortex and What to Expect in Winter Seasons 2018

6/20/2018 (Permalink)

Polar vortexes, or polar cyclones as they are sometimes called, are climatological features that hover near the poles year-round. These cold-core low-pressure areas strengthen in the winter and weaken in the summer.  Strengthening storm systems within the troposphere (the lowest portion of the Earth’s atmosphere) can act to intensify the polar vortex by significantly cooling the poles. A portion of the polar vortex can be fragmented and plunge over Canada, the Midwestern, Central, Southern and Northeastern United States.  This alteration in the polar vortex can occur due to the displacement of the polar jet stream. 

An example of this alteration would be the significant northwestern push of the polar jet stream over the Western part of the United States this past winter. This is different than the El Nino and La Nina weather occurrences, which are based on the water temperatures and air pressure in the Pacific Ocean that we have seen in the past. So, will the polar vortex have an effect on the upcoming winter? 

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this winter the East Coast will be colder with normal to above-normal snowfall.  The coldest periods will be late December through early January and the snowiest periods will be mid-January to early February. Accuweather predicts a soggy, stormy end of the year for the Southeast as a result of the effects of El Nino and even suggests that there may be snow in December. We will have to see if it rains or only sprinkles this winter. 

So it sounds like the Hampton Roads area always needs to prepare for a cold and wet winter. Get your sweaters out, stock up on hot cocoa and prepare your home.  Have the chimney inspected, check to see that your pipes are insulated, remember to turn your faucets to a slow, constant drip if the temperatures will be below 20?, disconnect the garden hoses, check all of the weather stripping around your windows and doors, and replace your HVAC filters. All of these things will help keep you and your home safe and minimize any possible damages that could be caused by the sudden drops in temperature.

Although we haven’t seen a whole lot of cold weather so far this winter, it looks like it could still be just around the corner. If it does hit, we probably will not see the same effects as we did on January 21, 1985 when the temperatures dropped to 3 degrees below zero in Norfolk making it the coldest day in the history of Hampton Roads. 

Call SERVPRO of Portsmouth at 757-397-3770.

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