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Environment

The Arctic Streak

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An animation of GOES weather satellite images acquired on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015. (Source: NOAA) By now, you've probably heard of the polar vortex. But how about the Arctic streak? I just made that up, based on the animation above of GOES weather satellite images showing water vapor in the atmosphere streaking out of Canada from the northwest, down across the Upper Midwest and toward East Coast. I think it's a pretty good description of that elongating, well, streak. This clipper system ushered in an extraordinary dome of high pressure and bone-chilling Arctic air, which will be affecting millions of people this week. To offer just one example, as I'm writing this late Tuesday night, temperatures in Minneapolis are expected to plunge to minus 10 degrees F — and with 25 mile per hour winds, the wind chill will drop to minus 35. The Weather Underground's new blogger, Bob Henson (and fellow Boulderite), provided all the details about the Arctic high pressure system that's enveloping so much of the country in such bitter cold. You can check it out in his inaugural post here. Meanwhile, that streak in the image above followed the path of the jet stream today:

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A model prediction of the jet stream for Jan. 6, 2015. And you can see the same streak in this GOES satellite image acquired on Tuesday afternoon:

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Clouds cutting across parts of the U.S. and Canada at about 3:45 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, as seen by the GOES East satellite . (Photo: NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory) Just to the north of the streak, it's an open door to the Arctic...

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