A year later, it’s not a polar vortex; it just feels like one

'Polar vortex' entered the region's vocabulary a year ago, but this week's cold isn't a rerun; it's just January. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — Exactly one year ago — Jan. 5, 2014 — the polar vortex made its presence known throughout much of the country, especially in the D.C. metro area.

This week, the region is expected to see a return of bitterly cold weather and some possible snow.  On Tuesday, morning snow appears likely with 1 to 2 inches possible, but ending around lunch time. Temperatures are forecast to barely reach freezing Wednesday, and getting no warmer than the mid-20s Thursday.

It is going to be cold, but ABC7 meteorologist Mike Stinneford says this is not from the polar vortex.

“No; just call it January!” Stinneford says.

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He said we will be seeing a few cold fronts come through the metropolitan area.

“We get buckles in the jet stream, and right now the jet stream is running off to our north, bringing in warmer air from the Gulf of Mexico, but it’s going to buckle back down and bring in air from the Canadian areas and the Arctic,” Stinneford says.

This weather system is normal for a winter season. A polar vortex is a pocket of cold air that usually sits around the North Pole, generally in far northern Canada.

“During the last winter, [the polar vortex] just broke loose,” Stinneford said. “This will happen a couple times a decade, where the cold air will get loose from Canada. Cold air gets bottled up behind a fence, and occasionally the cold air stampedes and breaks the fence down and brings the cold air back.”

Although it will be cold this week, Stinneford has some good news and some bad news for the region.

“Even though it is going to be cold, our snow chances are going to be very low,” Stinneford offers as good news.

The bad news?

“Wednesday will be very windy, and our wind chills will be in the teens and single digits for most of the day.”

Get the full forecast on WTOP.com’s weather page.

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