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Monday, December 12, 2016

Polar Vortex looms

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A winter storm's unrelenting march across the nation's northern tier brought snow to a handful of states Sunday and promised plunging temperatures that could drive frost as far south as Atlanta by week's end.

"It may not set records, but it will be really, really cold," Bruce Sullivan, senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center told USA TODAY. "The thing is, it's not even winter yet."

Parts of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin were among states blasted Sunday by a band dumping up to eight inches of snow more than a week before winter officially begins. A few areas, such as Granite Falls, Minn., are reaching double-digit accumulations.

On Monday the snow was forecast to roll into Upstate New York and parts of New England. A wide swath of the region could see up to six inches, with more in the mountains. New York City was bracing for snow Sunday night that was expected to turn to rain by Monday, the National Weather Service said.

After that, it's time for an Arctic blast. Blame the Polar Vortex, similar to the one that rocked the U.S. in January 2014, which is poised to drive demand for wool hats, mittens and leggings.

The Polar Vortex, lest we forget, is a massive area of high pressure and cold air that lingers around the North Pole. Sometimes it expands, allowing it to leak down over North America via the jet stream, the weather service explains.

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