Nature, Weather & Space

Get Bundled Up: Polar Vortex Hitting The U.S. This Week

Expect below-average temperatures around most of the country.

If you think it’s cold already, you’re going to want to brace yourself for what’s coming. A polar vortex is coming, and from the looks of it, you’re going to want to stay inside, as temperatures are about to drop in many parts of the country.

Below freezing temps are expected to hit the Midwest, Rocky Mountains and Pacific Northwest first, followed by the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic later in the week, and possibly the Southeast as well. Even parts of Florida’s panhandle will struggle to hit 50 degrees by the end of this week, according to WeatherSphere. High temperatures may remain in the single digits in parts of New England if the forecast holds true.

If you’re wondering about the term polar vortex, you might want to think back to Winter 2014 when it became a buzzword (although meteorologists have been using it for years). A polar vortex is a a very large, extremely cold air mass originating in the Arctic that’s bound by a current of fast-moving air at very high levels of the atmosphere. When the current is strong, it keeps the cold air bottled up, causing temperatures to drop much below normal. This particular vortex began over Siberia, and parts of the vortex broke off due to weakened winds, which caused it to meander south.

In this particular polar vortex, WeatherSphere predicts temperatures are expected to be around 10 to 20 degrees below average for this time of year.

So that means you should plan to bundle up this week. This polar vortex won’t hang around for too long, as temperatures are expected to rebound in the second half of December (phew!), but when it hits, you’re not going to want to be caught off-guard.