The Polar Vortex Is Back: Arctic Blast To Send Temperatures Plunging

Remember the dreaded Polar Vortex from last year? It’s back with a vengeance! Temperatures across the Midwestern U.S. are expected to plummet into the single digits and below in many areas over the next few days, Mashable is reporting.

Just about every part of the country east of the Rockies is going to feel the wrath of Polar Vortex 2.0, according to International Business Times. National Weather Service spokesperson Paul Kocin says that even the South will be feeling it.

“This is going to be a big cold outbreak, pretty windy as well. It’s going to drive all the way down South.”


Parts of the country are already feeling the effects of the most recent Polar Vortex. At Chicago’s O’Hare airport, about 230 flights were cancelled on Sunday due to the extreme cold. And the worst is yet to come; it may get down to -50 in Chicago by Thursday. In weather like that, frostbite is a real concern, especially for kids walking to school or waiting for the school bus, says Weather Channel spokesperson Kevin Roth.

“People need to be careful because of the frostbite threat. It’s going to be bitter. Kids heading out to the school bus need to make sure they are wrapped up warm and have their skin covered up. It will be the coldest weather most people have experienced this winter.”

Although the Upper Midwest (the region around Chicago and Minneapolis) is expected to get the worst of it, the Polar Vortex will spare no one. Temperatures in some areas will plunge to 25 to 35 degrees below average for this time of year. The map below shows how far temperatures are expected to be below their average for this time of year.

It's like it's winking at you.

A year ago this week, the term “Polar Vortex” entered the American vocabulary (much to the disappointment of some who would be glad to see it go) when a similar weather system plunged the mercury across the U.S. Since then, the term “Polar Vortex” became, rightly or wrongly, a shortcut for “cold weather.”

However, speaking from a strictly scientific standpoint, what’s going on this week is actually a real Polar Vortex – or at least, it’s a “wobble” in the existing Polar Vortex, according to Mashable.

Fortunately, this version of the Polar Vortex is expected to be relatively short compared to last year’s blast of Arctic misery, and temperatures should be back to normal by Saturday.

[Images courtesy of: Getty – AP – Mashable]