As If We Weren’t Already Dealing With Enough, the Polar Vortex Is Back

Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Zuma

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones’ newsletters.First came the pandemic. Then, the giant murder hornets. Now, a freak May snowstorm is set to blanket the Northeast, adding a new degree of absurdity to a year that can’t seem to get any weirder.
The polar vortex will send temperatures plummeting about 20 degrees below average in many parts of the Northeast and the Midwest on Friday, potentially blanketing northern New England with snow. Following a stretch of sunny spring weather, 75 million people could face temperatures below freezing on Saturday morning—an additional impetus to just stay home.
But the dipping temperatures shouldn’t be confused for a sign that nature is healing. Scientists theorize that warming Arctic temperatures could disturb atmospheric circulation patterns, increasing the frequency of extreme weather events across the Northern Hemisphere. These events aren’t limited to cold snaps; for example, abnormally hot, dry conditions have recently sent wildfires raging across the Florida Panhandle. Global temperatures are still showing a rising trend, and 2020 is on track to be one of the hottest years on record.
Still, for many Americans, it’s time to gear up for a Mother’s Day that could feel as cold as Christmas.