Rebecca Vineyard
December 09, 2016 1:44 pm

This fall, much of the country enjoyed mild temperatures. It’s been cold, but not crazily so. Thus, people can afford to be a little lax about how much they’re bundling up. Unfortunately, that’s all about to change. We’re about to get a polar vortex full of cold arctic air, so buckle down on your bundling, ASAP.

We heard the phrase “Polar Vortex” a loooot in 2014. It’s about to come back, in a big way. Those of us just getting around to adjusting our skincare routine for winter could probably use a little refresher. In the simplest terms, a polar vortex means things are about to get cold. Like, really, really cold.

Warner Bros.

In more detailed terms, a polar vortex is essentially air. According to the National Weather Service, this low pressure, cold air surrounds both the North and South Poles. It’s always there, but it typically weakens in the summer time, and strengthens in the winter. When it strengthens, it can expand, and send cold air southward via a jet stream.

Polar vortexes aren’t a new thing. It’s really just the phrase that has been popularized in the last few years. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t break out the mittens or invest in a richer moisturizer. Just as in 2014, when the January Polar Vortex led to frigid temperatures, next week is projected to be very cold for some parts of the country. The upper Midwest, including Chicago, might have highs in only the single digits.

The northern Plains and Upper Midwest will feel the chill beginning in the middle of the week, with the East Coast and Southeast experiencing the frigid temps at its end. And the West Coast will be fine, because it only sort of experiences weather, sometimes.

Luckily, the extreme cold should last for *too* long. AccuWeather meteorologist Paul Pastelok predicts, “We expect arctic air to retreat northward around Christmastime.” Thankfully, we’ll get a reprieve before things get really chilly in January and February.

In any case, it’s time break out your serious cold-weather gear, get some hydrating skincare, and stock up on the warm beverage of your choosing.