WILKES-BARRE — The polar vortex has returned, and it looks to bring frigid temperatures to the Wyoming Valley.
WNEP meteorologist Tom Clark said a portion of the polar vortex has settled over southeastern Canada. The vortex’s position will result in below-average temperatures for most of the week.
Clark predicted on Monday afternoon that the low early today could dip to -3 degrees, which would break the record of zero set in 1943.
Clark predicted daytime highs in the upper 20s today, mid 30s on Wednesday and Thursday before climbing to 40 on Friday and Saturday.
The weekend’s predicted warm up is still below average for this time of the year.
“The normal high now is 41,” Clark said. “The average low is 25.”
This chilly weather is not exactly typical for the month of March.
“In March in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area, we’ve only had four subzero days (in the month of March) in the last 100 years,” Clark said. “Having temperatures dip this low for daytime highs and nighttime lows is pretty rare.”
As cold as January?
January’s cold snap proved to be record-breaking. On Jan. 7, the low dipped to -4 degrees at about 7 a.m., shattering a record low in 1988 of 3 degrees for Jan. 7. The temperature didn’t get much higher during the day.
According to the National Weather Service, the high of 6 degrees was reached at 12:05 p.m. on the same day, setting a record for the coldest high temperature for the date. The previous record was 14, set in 1942.
It was also record-breaking for some regional utility companies.
Joe Swope, communications manager for UGI Utilities, said the company set a peak record for gas output on Jan. 7. He said the company measures gas output 10 a.m. to 10 a.m. in a 24-hour period.
He said UGI was confident going into this snap, and that while one should “never say never” in terms of setting another gas output record, he did not think it was likely. Given the Wyoming Valley’s close proximity to the Marcellus Shale formation, Swope said supply is not an issue.
PPL also saw shattered records with January’s deep freeze. PPL’s electricity demand reached 7,784 megawatt-hours on Jan. 7, breaking the previous record of 7,577 megawatt-hours set on Feb. 5, 2007.
Richard Beasley, spokesman for PPL, said the company was confident in the wake of this week’s cold snap.
“We have an excellent record of being able to withstand the colder temperatures,” he said.