Is it back?
What some people are calling the polar vortex, last winter's favorite whipping boy, will make a rare summer cameo in the central U.S. next week in what's typically one of the hottest weeks of the year.
Temperatures will be 10 to 30 degrees below average, mainly around the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes. But since it's July, the weather should actually be quite delightful, as highs are forecast in the 60s and 70s and lows in the 40s and 50s.
The weather will be cool and cloudy Tuesday for the MLB All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis, with temperatures likely in the 60s at game time, dropping into the 50s during the game, according to the National Weather Service.
The East will also get in on the cooler than average conditions, but the change won't be as dramatic as in the north-central U.S.
Last January, the term polar vortex became a media darling thanks to bitterly cold air that spread south into the nation from the Arctic, setting dozens of cold temperature records in the central and eastern U.S..
Of course, the polar vortex isn't suddenly appearing out of nowhere (it usually hovers far above the North Pole) or new (it's been around a few hundred million years). There's also some debate in the weather community if this a true polar vortex: The weather service forecast offices in Chicago and State College, Pa., both specifically called it a polar vortex Thursday, and AccuWeather meteorologist Alex Sosnowski calls it "a piece of the polar vortex."
But others say no: Steven DiMartino, a meteorologist with NY NJ PA Weather, calls it a "gross example of bad meteorology" and that "the pattern change has nothing to do with the polar vortex."
The Weather Channel explained on its site that what's popularly known as the polar vortex exists at a level much higher up in the atmosphere than the weather closer to the surface: "Laying the blame for this anomalously cold outbreak of air on the polar vortex is incorrect -- this air bubble is in an altitude much lower than where the polar vortex is located."
Regardless, while chilly air will be in the central U.S., there will be no polar air in the West however, as temperatures west of the Rockies will be beastly hot. Western Washington is already under an excessive heat watch for the weekend with highs in the 90s expected in some spots, the weather service warns.
Four wildfires are currently burning in Washington, the most of any state, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. Almost 20,000 acres have burned.
Temperatures could rise to over 100 degrees in parts of Washington and Oregon next week.