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US Polar vortex returns after brief taste of spring weather

The US is experiencing a repeat of January's icy weather, which saw the Niagara Falls freeze over
  • @kashmiragander

After a brief taste of spring weather, parts of the US are being plagued once again by the polar vortex.

The worst of the icy weather will centre on the upper Midwest, the Climate Prediction Centre predicts.

“Record cold temperatures are possible for the High Plains, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes later this week,” the US National Weather Service said in an online forecast.

There are reports that Minneapolis has been hit by temperatures 10 to 20 degrees below normal, with current reports stating that it is -16 C.

Cities including Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo, are also expected to experience unusually low temperatures, with the mercury in some areas dropping by as much as 40 degrees to below 0 C by midweek, according to AccuWeather.

“The polar vortex is essentially a mass of very cold air that usually hangs out above the Arctic Circle and is contained by strong winds,” AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski told USA Today.

Temperatures in the Great Lakes and in areas of the Tennessee Valley will barely also be plunged below freezing.

Meanwhile, heavy snowstorms will spread across the Northeast by midweek, covering Washington DC, New York City, and Boston.

The cold snap earlier in the year broke a number of meteorological records, including the coldest winter in Detroit for over 35 years, while temperatures in Duluth, Minnesota, have not risen above -17 C in 59 days. 

When the polar vortex first struck this year in January, the weather was so cold that the Niagara Falls stopped cascading, as if frozen in time. 

See amazing photos from January's polar vortex