My radio career began doing weekend weather forecasts which is odd because I used to know next to nothing about weather. That's why I defer to the experts from the National Weather Service when it comes to forecasts. They just said that the polar vortex will soon return to Missouri with a vengeance, but I have questions.

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I was researching what the weather has planned for Missouri and Illinois for the next few months and found this interesting document just shared by the National Weather Service. It's the outlook for Missouri for February 2024 through April 2024 and it seems to have conflicting conclusions. I'll explain.

First of all, here's the exact quote from the 2nd page of this document which includes a stern warning about the current warmup. It acknowledges the warmer temperatures we're about to experience, but advises of what will follow:

While the polar vortex in the mid-stratosphere tends to recover quickly after these disturbances, any effects on the tropospheric jet stream and its weather patterns could potentially stick around for up to 6 weeks after the vortex is disrupted. This “loads the dice” for potential arctic outbreaks over the central & eastern U.S., and Europe. This is something to watch during February.

I asked my wife the meteorologist to translate. She explained that the forecaster seems to be saying that when the polar vortex (normal cold winter conditions) is interrupted by a warm period like this, it tends to return even more severe and they're expecting a 6-week duration for that bitter cold.

She also pointed out that this conclusion does not agree with one of the maps they shared in their discussion which shows the next 14 days are forecast to be much warmer than normal.

NOAA Climate Prediction Center
NOAA Climate Prediction Center

So which one is it? All of the forecasts I can find show a slightly warmer than normal remaining winter months and then a wet Spring. This is where I will shrug my shoulders and say we'll see.

There's lots of weather nerd language in the National Weather Service forecast for February through April 2024 if you care to decipher it yourself.

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Gallery Credit: Canva

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