Forget winter—the polar vortex is coming.
Temperatures are expected to plunge into the single digits later this week as an arctic blast rumbles toward the Northeast, forecasters say.
By Wednesday night Long Islanders should begin to feel the effects of a deep freeze moving across the Midwest as the polar air begins to filter in, Jay Engle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Upton office, said. The cold surge will mostly be felt Wednesday night through Friday, with the region warming up once the arctic front veers off.
“It’s not going to last for a long time,” Engle said. “It’s kind of like a 30-36 hours of arctic air.”
Temperatures will moderate quickly, he said, pushing the mercury to the 40s on Saturday and potentially even back to the 50s on Sunday.
While the potential for a reprieve is heartening, the plummeting temperatures preceding the warm-up is no joke.
Engle expects temperatures to be in the 20s Wednesday night and most of the day Thursday before potentially plunging into the single digits in the evening. If that’s not cold enough, the wind chill could make it feel close to zero, if not subzero, overnight.
Long Islanders may remember the polar vortex’s last major romp across the Island in 2014, when it brought record cold temperatures not felt in four decades. At the time, the arctic blast set a 118-year record at Central Park.
The polar vortex—which forecasters refer to as a “latitudinal displacement”—is always present in the arctic but occasionally it becomes displaced and travels south during the winter. Typically it’s the jet stream that dictates when the blast of arctic air pulls away from the poles, Engle said.
The good news is that forecasters aren’t looking for any major storms in the coming week.
Meanwhile, temperatures on the Island will hover around the low 40s Tuesday and Wednesday before the polar vortex strikes.