Polar Vortex in the Four States

It’s Morning Edition on KRPS. The end of winter, it’s about 5-weeks away. The official end of winter and the start of Spring may seem like a million years away, the chance of season happens on Saturday, March 20th. On Sunday, I spoke with the meteorologist in Charge Kelsey Angle at the National Weather Service office in Springfield, Missouri. The office oversees both Southwest Missouri and Southeast Kansas. Angle says the snow should slow starting this morning across the area.

“The snow will start to taper off from west to east across the area Monday morning, it does look like Monday afternoon will be dry. We do expect cold conditions to continue throughout the area the entire week. And we do have additional accumulating snow possible coming up as soon as late Tuesday night into Wednesday.”

Yes, there is another good chance we will have more snow later this week, and temperatures across the Four States will remain lower than expected. The average daily temp for February in Joplin is just below 40 degrees. So far this month, the city has only averaged a high of 32.8 degrees. Almost 7 degrees cooler than usual. According to Angle, these past few days are record breakers.

“With regards to temperatures, this is extreme cold. Temperatures for a good chunk of the month of February have been below normal and it does look like it will continue when we will see below-freezing temperatures right on through at least Thursday and potentially Friday and then this weekend’s look to be a little bit warmer.”

Right now, the forecasted highs for this upcoming Saturday is near freezing. Why haven’t we been able to get closer to average temps in the Four States? A vast and frigid mass that stretches from Texas to Maine that is stuck in place.

“Well, we have an extremely cold air mass, an arctic air mass that’s just entrenched across the middle part of the country, until we get a strong enough change in the upper air pattern to our west to nudge that to the east, it’s locked in place.”

Traveling in extremely cold temperatures, snow, and ice can be dangerous. Consistently cold temperatures can also have effects on our car batteries, causing them not to turn over. According to Angle, with temps near zero and the wind chill into the negative teens, you have to take extra precautions when driving.

“Well certainly if you’re going to travel, you give your travel plans to a neighbor, to a friend, to a family member, and let them know what time you’re expected to arrive. Also, if you’re planning on traveling you want to make sure that you’ve got a winter safety kit, cause with temperatures this cold if you do run into the unfortunate circumstance where do you have car trouble it’s not going to take too long with the extreme temperatures for frostbit or hypothermia starts to set in. So certainly, this is the type of cold that you do want to take seriously. You do want to respect it. And if at all possible, stay inside and dress appropriately for the conditions that are out there.”

February is both the coldest month of winters in the Four States. Forecasted record-breaking lows and highs are expected today, according to the National Weather Service. The forecasted high in Joplin today is expected to be near 6 degrees. That would break a 14-year record that was set in 2007, when the high was 22 degrees. A near-record breaking low tonight of negative 4, very close to the record of negative six that was recorded in 1905. Yes, 116 years ago. Angle from the N W S office in Springfield, says, yes it winter. It’s going to be cold and a part of a larger cycle of weather patterns.

The current pattern we’re in, certainly is a winter weather pattern. And it does look like this upcoming weekend, we’ll start to transition to a warmer weather pattern. If you look at it from a climatological standpoint mid-February tends to be really the heart of our winter and when we’ve historically seen the coldest conditions and the records themselves. So, as we get deeper in the month and into March, temperatures will start to warm and we’ll transition eventually to more of a spring-like weather pattern.

That was Kelsey Angle, the in-charge meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri, talking about the storm and the extremely cold temperatures we’ve been having these past few days. For K RPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro in Webb City

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