Vortex Brings Cool Air to the U.S. East While the South Bakes

Updated on
Summer in New York
People walk along the East River in New York City. Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

It’s time for New York to chill out.

Boston, Philadelphia and Trenton, too.

Well, chill might be too strong a word, but there definitely will be a different feel to the air for the next week or so.

The high in Central Park has reached or topped 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 Celsius) every day since July 18, according to the National Weather Service. If the forecast holds, all that starts to change Wednesday night.

Lows in Manhattan may dip to 65 with a peak of 83 on Thursday, the highest reading for the rest of the week. The story is the same throughout the Northeast.

“It is going to be cool there,” said Bob Oravec, a meteorologist with the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. “There’s a big vortex over the eastern Ontario-Quebec border, similar to the patterns we had during the cold season.”

Yes, he used the v-word. That wonderful dip in weather patterns that drives cold air down from the Arctic like a conveyor belt. The same vortex that is the favorite of forecasters everywhere in the winter to explain why the air seems to freeze and snow falls by the foot.

Changeable Pattern

It’s a pattern that has lingered for years, or so it seems, waxing and waning, Oravec said. It’s most noticeable in the winter, when going outside can be painful.

In the summer, it’s more a harbinger of pleasant temperatures.

The week’s nice readings won’t be confined to the U.S. East Coast. Highs in Chicago will stay in the low 80s, with overnight temperatures in the 60s. And in Canada, where the trough has parked itself, Toronto and Montreal will have lows in the 50s and daytime highs in the 70s, according to Environment Canada.

As so often happens in nature, however, when one thing falls something else rises. Texas, Oklahoma and the rest of the southern Great Plains will bake. Dallas hit 101 Monday, and that will pretty much look like the lower end of the spectrum for the week. The high may be 104 on Saturday.

Houston, apparently feeling those cool breezes off the Gulf of Mexico, will hover around 98 for the rest of the week, and in Austin 100 will be the mark to beat.

By the end of the week, temperatures in the 100s could be recorded across parts of Oklahoma and Louisiana as well, Oravec said. Tulsa, Oklahoma, hasn’t had a 100-degree day since last August.

Back up north, the cooler air will start to fade by the middle of the month, said Todd Crawford, meteorologist with WSI, a professional division of the Weather Company in Andover, Massachusetts.

Well, it was a little too early to roll up the beach umbrella and put away the lawn furniture, anyway. You really didn’t want summer to be over yet? Did you?

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