A Polar Vortex Could Bring the Coldest Weather of the Season This Week

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Baby, it’s about to get very cold outside!

If you’ve been enjoying the mild winter weather so far this season, you better hold onto your hat. According to Accuweather, a polar vortex is on the horizon, which could result in bitterly cold temperatures for the second half of the season.

The meteorological term “polar vortex” refers to a large mass of cold air, and while it may sound intimidating, this phenomenon is actually everpresent in the atmosphere. This mass spins counterclockwise, like a hurricane, and constantly hovers around the Arctic. While the polar vortex typically stays above the North Pole, it sometimes weakens, causing the cold air to move south.

What does that mean for us? Technically, it means severely cold air is about to circulate over the United States. It also means you better grab your parka, gloves, and hat —it’s going to be chilly. 

The northern half of the country has experienced “well-above-average temperatures” over the past several weeks, so meteorologists say this icy blast of air is going to bring with it some added shock value.

“The anticipated waves of Arctic air will have their cold tasks cut out for them at first, but once the pattern gets rolling, a major surge in heating demand is expected,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Samuhel. “Winter storms and lake-effect snow that become intertwined in the cold blasts can hit travel and daily activities hard in parts of the Midwest and East.”

If you’ve been waiting for those post-holiday sales to purchase your cold-weather gear, you’d better get on it sooner than later! Meteorologists anticipate the first gust of freezing air will grace us with its presence before the end of the month and will affect the entire country.

“An Arctic cold front is expected to move through the northern Rockies and northern Plains on January 18-19 then the eastern and south-central parts of the U.S. between January 20 and 21,” said Samuhel. “Even though temperatures may remain above average in the wake of the leading edge of the cold air, it will bring a 10- to 20-degree Fahrenheit drop as the front passes through.”

This cold, circulating wind begins every autumn, as the sun barely reaches the North Pole during that time. Each spring, it begins to dissipate again. Looks like we’ll just have to ride it out until then!

Are you ready for this blast of frigid weather? What are some of your favorite hacks for staying toasty in the cold? Let us know some of your tried-and-true tips!