It's a polar vortex, but everyone's missing the point

The so-called summer polar vortex has been in the headlines since last week, but most have been missing its biggest consequences.

In mid-July, the jet stream is normally content flowing across parts of Canada. The United States rarely sees any sign of the jet stream, a piece of the severe weather puzzle, during the summer.

This is one of the main reasons severe weather begins to slow down in July. Tornado activity peaks in early June and then starts to drop the rest of the year.

 

That's not the case this week. The jet stream dove into the Plains and the Midwest yesterday, which is why we saw severe weather coast to coast.

 

Today, the jet stream is still digging pretty far south, but the severe weather threat is now on either side of the trough, or dip, in the jet stream. Today's severe weather threat lies in Wyoming and Colorado on one side and up and down the East Coast on the other.

In between, we find the dreaded polar vortex. But since it's summer, it's really no big deal. You're not going to hear anyone in the Plains or the Midwest that it happens to be really comfortable with low humidity today. And that's what's making the headlines, including this story!

The real story lies in those areas seeing severe weather. It's also up and down the West Coast where heat is building to really uncomfortable levels in areas that are plagued by drought.

For every trough, or dip, in the jet stream, there's a ridge, or rise.

Deep troughs mean colder, arctic air moves a little farther south than normal. Those ridges mean just the opposite. Ridges in the jet stream allow heat from the south to build and get even hotter, just the opposite of what a drought-stricken region needs.

So while the polar vortex may be winning over the headlines, digging a little deeper will uncover the real story -- severe weather and all that heat, not the perfect weather in the middle.

Follow Storm Shield Meteorologist Jason Meyers via the Storm Shield app on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Download the Storm Shield Weather Radio App for your iPhone or Android device and get severe weather alerts wherever you are.

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