The break in the cold weather has been pleasant for fingers, toes, and other extremities. However, it is likely that Arctic air will return this winter.
The upper-atmospheric circulation around the North Pole region, also known as the Polar Vortex, strengthened last week. The more rigorously circular wind pattern kept most of the very cold air locked in place in the Arctic last week, and we were treated to a week of melting.
But there are signs the Polar Vortex may weaken again sometime in early February. This will likely unleash some of the air that has been stalled over Alaska and northern Canada, allowing it to drop southward.
Precisely how severe the cold air will be is not known at this time. But it is likely that significantly colder air will drop back into our region within a couple of weeks and linger, more or less, for a few weeks.
Meteorologist John Wheeler