Just when you thought it was safe to go outside, the dreaded polar vortex is about to rear its ugly head once again. This week, a pocket of cool air is making its way from the Gulf of Alaska, across the Great Lakes and along the East Coast in a chilling (get it?) replay of January’s bone-deep freeze. The normally-sweltering July heat will be pummeled down by cold Alaskan air and rainstorms that might have some people reliving the January vortex all over again.

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If you want to get technical, it isn’t actually a polar vortex that is headed toward the eastern seaboard and, since it is July after all, the temperatures won’t be nearly as cold. But with highs in the 50s and 60s in the Upper Midwest, and lows as cold as the 40s, the chill is a dramatic departure for the normal temperature, even if it doesn’t qualify for polar vortex status. There is a chance that the cold air might fizzle out by the time it hits the East Coast, but even still, it will be at least 10 degrees colder than normal all around.

Related: There’s an 80% Chance that El Nino Will Hit Between October and November

Meteorologists say that the recent Japanese typhoon Neoguri is driving the wacky weather. The storm caused the North Pacific jet stream to accelerate, creating low pressure over Alaska. At the same time, in a mirror of the conditions last January, the Western US will be slammed with a wave of heat, where no doubt people will be wishing for a bit of that cold Alaskan air. As if conditions weren’t strange enough, scientists predict that El Nino could come along at any time, so it’s probably best to keep the umbrellas and the sunscreen ready to go for the foreseeable future.

Via the Washington Post

Lead image via Shutterstock, image via the NWSCPC