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VOA / Thursday January 4, 2018
Why There's a Big Chill in a Warmer World
Anchorage, Alaska, was warmer Tuesday than Jacksonville, Florida. The weather in the U.S. is that upside down. That's because the Arctic's deeply frigid weather escaped its regular atmospheric jail that traps the worst cold. It then meandered south to the central and eastern United States. And this has been happening more often in recent times, scientists say. - Why is it so cold? - Super cold air is normally locked up in the Arctic in the polar vortex , which is a gigantic circular weather pattern around the North Pole. A strong polar vortex keeps that cold air hemmed in. 'Then when it weakens, it causes like a dam to burst,'' and the cold air heads south, said Judah Cohen, a winter storm expert for Atmospheric Environmental Research, a private firm outside Boston. 'This is not record-breaking for Canada or Alaska or northern Siberia, it's just misplaced,'' said Cohen, who had forecast a colder than normal winter for much of the U.S. - Is this unusual? - Yes, but more for how long - about 10 days - the cold has lasted, than how cold it has been. On Tuesday, Boston tied its seven-day record for the most consecutive days at or below 20 degrees that was set exactly 100 years ago...Read more