Heat wave grips New York after area beaches close - but winter may pack a punch
By RYAN GORMAN
The hottest day of the year has hit New York City, one day after the official end of summer, but forecasters believe this winter will be cold and - brace yourselves - snowy.
A cooler-than-average summer is being avenged as a blast of hot air hits the Big Apple just as area children return to school following the Labor Day holiday.
The heat is expected to last at least halfway through September, Accuweather meteorologist Paul Pastelok told AOL News, but it may eventually be followed by a cold, snowy winter.
"I think that we'll see consistent heat and humidity for the next two weeks," Pastelok said. "This is our late summer that's going to be with us."
The blistering heat wave gripping the northeast sent Tuesday temperatures soaring to 93 degrees in New York. The heat index climbed up to nearly 100.
Forecasts show the heat lasting at least through the end of the week, but Pastelok foresees it lasting longer.
This comes as reports suggest the Polar Vortex could be the new normal for many winters to come.
The extreme cold that froze over much of the U.S. last winter has been blamed on melting sea ice, according to the Associated Press, but Pastelok says it was a product of separate unusual air flows the past few years.
Wind currents referred to as jet streams whip around the earth at great rates of speed in the upper atmosphere. Weather patterns ride these jet streams across the U.S., generally from west to east, but sometimes from north to south.
An unusual dip in the northern jet stream, accompanied by a freezing over of the Great Lakes, allowed cold air that normally dominates Canada and the northern plains to reach the eastern seaboard because the moderating effect of the lakes was mitigated by them icing over.
"Those air masses were traveling across the Great Lakes and not being modified," said the meteorologist. "The lakes protect us."
Pastelok sees this winter being cold and possibly even stormy.
"I don't think it's going to be as cold, but I do think there is going to be some fairly stormy weather," he said, comparing the coming winter to 2009 - 2010, which was cold and very snowy.
Weather patterns, specifically a lack of tropical storms and hurricanes, in the Gulf of Mexico may lead to significant weather events on the East Coast as the temperatures turn colder, Pastelok explained.
Pastelok said to expect two blizzards and at least one major snowstorm in New York this winter, but cautioned that any predictions this early in the year can radically change in the next few months.
The Old Farmer's Almanac also predicted a cold, snowy winter for the northeast U.S. The fabled book, now in its 223rd year of publication, even appears to agree with Pastelok by saying temperatures will be about 2 to 5 degrees colder than normal.
For now, New Yorkers will be trying to cool off for the next few weeks while dreaming of a white Christmas that just may be.
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