U.S. News

Actions

Here Are All The Answers To Your Polar Vortex Questions

The winter phenomenon known as a polar vortex has brought record-setting low temperatures throughout the U.S.
Posted at 11:06 AM, Jan 07, 2014

Chances are if you hadn’t heard this term before, you probably have by now.

 “Meteorologists are calling it a polar vortex from the North Pole.” (Via CNBC)

“Yet another day of the polar plunge as it continues to shift down to the east.” (Via CBS)

STEPHEN COLBERT: We're being hit by a polar vortex and thundersnow, and frankly, folks, I'm not sure if those are weather patterns or finishing moves from 'mortal combat.'"(Via Comedy Central

Experts say this phenomenon is kind of like a winter hurricane — basically a pattern of fast-moving winds that surround the North Pole. And that’s usually where it stays. (Via Channel 4

The problem arises when the vortex weakens and spills over into the South — resulting this week in some of the coldest weather parts of the country have seen in decades. (Via CNN

It's so cold that this cup of boiling water freezes in midair. (Via ABC)

Temperatures were so cold this was the scene outside the Today Show in New York Tuesday. Of course, it's usually crawling with fans. (ViaInstagram / carsondaly)

And in Chicago, things weren’t much better. Subzero temps in the Windy City gave birth to hashtag “Chiberia.” (Via Twitter

Even the polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo had to stay inside. And polar bears live in Siberia. 

Michigan and Minnesota were some of the hardest-hit states, with wind chills of up to 50 degrees below zero. (Via WXYZ)   

And that — experts say — is colder than it gets on the planet Mars. (Via YouTube / HDScienceChannel

So, when will it all be over? While more than half the country is still under a chill advisory, temps later in the week should warm up — that is, to the lower 20s and 30s.