'Polar vortex' forecast to shift southward again next week

Enjoy a mild weekend ahead while you can -- temperatures 20 degrees below normal or colder are expected across the eastern United States by late next week.

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center in College Park is calling for strong chances, nearly a certainty, that colder-than-normal temperatures will descend on much of the country, from the northern Plains to the Great Lakes to the Mississippi Valley, the mid-Atlantic and New England.

It is the result of a strong ridge of high pressure forecast to develop over the western U.S., according to the Weather Underground's Jeff Masters, while cold air spills southward across the rest of the country.

The National Weather Service is not yet forecasting anything in Maryland on par with the single-digit lows that dominated much of last month, though its outlooks are limited to the coming 5-7 days.

Other sources, including the Weather Channel and the Weather Underground, predict a return to highs below freezing and lows in the teens for Baltimore by next Friday and into next weekend.

The Weather Underground meanwhile predicts potential for another major snowfall by next Friday and Saturday. It's still too early to bank on anything like that, but the necessary ingredients could be in place.

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