Relax, Chicago: The Polar Vortex Is Not Coming Back

It’s going to get cold in Chicago in the next few days. Just not that cold.

The National Weather Service tweeted this photo Thursday afternoon, that got a lot of people talking:

But not so fast. Red Eye Chicago reports that Chicago-area meteorologist Tom Skilling is downplaying the rather sensational tweet. Instead, Windy City residents should expect days with high in the 70’s, and lows in the 50’s.

We’re not going to see snow flying, or ice pellets. We might see some hail from thunderstorms.

The system that’s bringing this weird weather has actually been going on for months, and it has a name: the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge. According to Slate, the system brings cold air from the Yukon into the eastern half of the country, bringing colder temperatures, and funnels warm air from the tropical Pacific to states west of the Rockies, bringing warmer temperatures, and drought.

In California, this has actually been the warmest year in recorded history, according to Weather West. This is especially true in Southern California, where multiple weather stations recorded their earliest-ever 100-degree day. The hot weather and dry conditions have made for an unusually dangerous wildfire season.

Related: California Wildfire Slowly Coming Under Control (Inquisitr)

The original Polar Vortex of 2014 came in early January, bringing sub-zero temperatures – in some cases double digits below zero – to much of the eastern half of the U.S. Think Progress reported at the time an incident in which a Weather Channel meteorologist was asked how cold it was expected to get in Minneapolis. His response: “Colder than Mars.” And in fact, according to The Guardian Liberty Voice, the overnight temperature in Minneapolis that night was -42 degrees; where over on Mars, the Curiosity Rover recorded the coldest Martian daily high was -24 degrees.

As for this version of the Polar Vortex bringing actual polar temperatures to the Midwest, Skilling says that it’s a “near physical impossibility,” barring a catastrophic volcanic eruption, or a nuclear winter.

Indeed, a volcanic eruption is one possibility behind The Year Without a Summer. According to Lee Foster of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, the eruption of the Tambora volcano in 1815. This theory holds that the volcanic ash reached the upper atmosphere over the Northern Hemisphere in the summer of 1816, causing, among other things, frosts in August.

Whatever it brings, the summer version of the Polar Vortex won’t last long: The Weather Channel predicts highs in the upper seventies for Chicago by next Friday.

Image source: Sun Times (Skokie)