Super typhoon and the polar vortex: Why it's about to get so cold in much of the country

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Brace yourselves; winter is coming. "Polar vortex" may have been the weather catchphrase of last winter, but it's coming back and it's bringing snow and freezing temperatures along with it.

While it might be easy to look north and blame Canada for sending the polar vortex down into the United States, the real cause behind it is happening thousands of miles to the west. The remnants of Super Typhoon Nuri has made their way from the western Pacific Ocean east of the Philippines, up to the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia. The storm is expected to bring sting winds and huge waves to the area and may become one of the largest storms to hit Alaska since the 1970s, according to

A Bering Sea super storm may not seem like it would impact temperatures in Chicago and Minneapolis, but a storm of that size has the ability to push the jet stream out of position, forcing arctic air that normally sits much farther north down into the U.S. And that is exactly what's expected to happen this weekend.

The cold weather is expected to impact as many as 200 million people as it sweeps across the U.S.

By next week, temperatures in the Plains states could drop 40 degrees or more and freezing air, wind and snow will make their way into the Midwest. The worst of the cold will be felt from Fargo and Minneapolis to Chicago and St. Louis, according to AccuWeather.

The cold will stretch all the way south into Texas and east along the Atlantic Seaboard and may last into the middle of the month.

Perhaps it's time to consider a trip out to California. As the rest of the country shivers under the parkas, the West Coast is expected to remain warm and dry. offers the following tips to help prepare for winter storms:

  • Make sure to have rock salt and sand to help melt ice on walkways and improve traction.
  • Locate snow shovels and snow removal equipment.
  • Gather adequate clothing and blankets to keep warm and sufficient heating fuel in case you become isolated in your home and regular fuel sources get cut off.
  • Minimize travel and keep disaster supplies in your vehicle.
  • Bring pets inside and move other animals to sheltered area.

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