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Polar Vortex: Don't Believe the Hype

With news of temperatures in the 40s and 50s in the Great Lakes next week, talk of a polar vortex is running rampant.

Don’t believe the hype, says NBC10 First Alert Chief Meteorologist Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz:

“It’s not the polar vortex,” Schwartz said. “It’s an unusually cool weather pattern that’s coming into, let’s say the Great Lakes area, and that happens even in July sometimes.

“That’s what the weather is: It varies. And so just because the weather is very cool or very hot, that doesn’t mean it’s anything unusual or freakish. Weather does change dramatically. That’s what makes it interesting.”

But the National Weather Service office in Chicago didn’t appear to get the message. This is what it tweeted Thursday with an accompanying “polar vortex” graphic:

Soon after, the main office of the National Weather Service made it clear the “polar vortex” was not at work. Its forecast discussion mentioned that "A DEEP UPPER LOW ... NOT THE POLAR VORTEX" would be swinging through the Great Lakes.

"I think people are pretty sensitive to those words," Amy Seeley, a meterologist with the National Weather Service, told the Associated Press.

She said the Chicago office quickly realized it made the wrong call.

“Some people like to write provocative headlines,” Schwartz said. “That happens in entertainment, it happens in politics, [and] it also happens in weather.”