Polar Vortex takes its toll on Vt. winter - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Polar Vortex takes its toll on Vt. winter

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Skiers in Vermont think about the weather --- a lot!  This winter has been challenging.

"We've had some roller coaster rides with the weather, the polar vortex and everything," said Parker Riehle with the Vermont Ski Areas Association.

There it is, that weather phenomenon that has everyone talking. "Basically, the air that's on the North Pole is what we've seen go right toward our neck of the woods," said WCAX Meteorologist Nick Borelli.

While Vermonters are certainly used to cold weather, if it has felt more like the North Pole some days.  Borelli says, the Polar Vortex is having an impact on our temperatures. "There's kind of a permanent storm system usually on that spine around the poles. This season it's actually distorted a little bit and moved a little further south than it typically would," he said.  

As the Polar Vortex moves further south, so does the jet stream according to Borelli. He says  those clipper systems  -- that sometimes bring snow -- ride along it. "As they track they will bring in some warmer air initially -- with the warm front -- but quickly, usually it reinforces arctic air behind it," Borelli said.

Which is why we've had days that felt like spring outside and days where you'd rather not go outside.  For the ski industry that's a tough combination.  "It has been a winter where the highs are so high and the lows have been so low, it has been a real challenge," Riehle said.

Because of that, snowmaking has been critical ---- more so this year than any other season in a long time. As for the real stuff, blame the jet stream for giving places like Philadelphia 1.5 times the amount of snow it usually gets  -- and leaving Vermonters doing snow dances.

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