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Fall Forecast: Polar Vortex Could be Back in the Mix

by on August 07, 2014 6:00 AM

Don't look now, but the crisp autumn air will be here before you know it.

And that air may be especially crisp if AccuWeather's just-released long term fall forecast holds true.

We've already been through what's felt like a cool summer, with temperatures running about two degrees below average according to Alex Sosnowski, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather. And it doesn't sound like things will improve much going forward.

Sosnowski thinks many people are expecting a fall warm up. "They kind of suspect that maybe the fall will trend less stormy and generally warmer," he says. "That isn't necessarily going to be the case this fall. I hate to use the word 'changeable' but that's probably the best way to describe this fall coming up."

There's one change that will get peoples' attention -- forecasters are calling for an early return of the dreaded Polar Vortex in the Northeast -- in September.

The reason for the cool down is that conditions in Northern Canada are beginning to resemble what happened last fall. It appears the weather will be getting colder quickly and it's likely that colder air could break lose and drop down into the United States.

Sosnowski stresses that everyone needs to understand that temperatures always go down at this time of the year. "During the heart of the fall the normal average high temperatures, and the low temperatures are changing by a degree every two or three days. They're heading down," he says. "If we treat everything relatively speaking, where normal highs are supposed to be we could be looking at high temperatures for a few day stretch maybe, 10 to 15 degrees below normal."

That means we could see a few days with temperatures topping out in the low 60s, maybe even the 50s. Compare that to typical late September highs in State College which are usually in the upper 70s.

Sosnowski admits long range forecasts can be dicey but they're based on a number of factors. "We look at average high and low temperatures and then we look at weather pattern and look at how the weather pattern is going to vary from average."

October could also be an "extreme month." There could be cold air trying to come in from the Northwest along with some stormy weather -- and that could include some tropical storms that run up the Atlantic coast.

The weather should warm up in November, but there's a tradeoff. "We will see some dry weather in the Northeast, barring any tropical systems, in September and October but in November it will get wet," Pastelok says.

If it makes you feel any better, AccuWeather is calling for wildfires in the Northwest, continuing drought in the Southwest, snow and cold across the Plains states and severe storms along the Gulf Coast.

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Steve Bauer was the Managing Editor of Steve and his wife Trina are longtime area residents. They reside in State College along with a wacky Golden Retriever named Izzy.
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