Polar vortex: What to know about the frigid vortex from the polar region

WLS logo
Thursday, January 17, 2019
What is a polar vortex?
What is a polar vortex? Just what it sounds like: a vortex that originates over the polar regions.

It's already a lot to endure frigid winter conditions, but what happens when we get an unwelcome visit from an even colder spell of air like a polar vortex?

"A polar vortex is simply that: a vortex that originates over the polar regions," according to AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno. "Because it starts over the polar regions, it has arctic air. During the wintertime, as a polar cortex comes southward into central Canada, it can deliver cold air all the way down toward the Gulf Coast."

When high pressure builds into the Arctic Circle, the polar vortex is pushed south and away from the pole, giving it an opportunity to sink into the United States.

As the polar vortex encroaches upon your area, be prepared for an arctic chill.

SEE ALSO: Climate versus weather: What's the difference?

The difference between climate and weather comes largely down to one factor: time.