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Fall 2014 Polar Vortex Arctic Blast will Make You Wish for Summer Again

winter-scenePrepare yourself for the hardest-hitting cold blast of the year. It is called the polar vortex, and it would love nothing more than to grey your skies and give you frostbite.

This arctic blast of 2014 will be strong enough to reach the North Central United States, from Bismark to Wichita. It will work its way South and East, affecting nearly 243 million people, according to CBS.

Early next week, you'll have more to complain about than a case of the Mondays. Expect this polar vortex to bring colder than average temperatures to a city near you.

The polar vortex is the most bitter pocket of cold wind known to the North Pole.

  • Usually it rests at the Northern Hemisphere and stays there, affecting Canada and some surrounding areas. It is called a vortex because its winds circulate in a counter clockwise direction.
  • The polar vortex is known to be a contained pocket of air that is kept in place by this counter-clockwise motion.
  • Sometimes the vortex's circulation gets distorted, which leads to the release of its cold air into surrounding areas.

The arctic blast that comes from the polar vortex is not a storm. It is a cold air outbreak that spreads farther and lasts longer than a storm. This is also known as a "cold snap," and will make your week frigid.

Blame it on the typhoon.

This arctic blast storm originates from the super storm Typhoon Nuri, which is currently brewing over the Bering Sea and Alaska. If you've ever seen The Deadliest Catch you know how intense Alaskan sea storms can be. Rough, tumultuous waves slam against heavy ships, sometimes throwing men overboard.

About Typhoon Nuri

  • Typhoon Nuri will come close to being the strongest storm on record in the Bering Sea.
  • If it measures anywhere above 925 mb (millibars, a unit of pressure), this 2014 super storm will replace this previous record.
  • It may be Western Alaska that is feeling the brunt of its 50 foot waves and 100mph winds, but as soon as the beginning of next week, so will you.

That's because the storm is intense enough to reach the chilly wind in the polar vortex sitting above the Northern Hemisphere, and interrupt the wind circulation speed of the vortex.

Sustained circulation at certain pressures or wind speeds keeps the polar vortex spinning in it's typical circumference. But, much like a slowing hula hoop, once the pressure or circulatory speed decreases, the vortex becomes distorted.

This is how Typhoon Nuri affects the polar vortex. The typhoon winds distort the vortex, resulting in a jet stream that releases the cold air in the polar vortex pocket into the United States.

It is not common for the polar vortex to reach so far South as it is predicted to this year, but Typhoon Nuri has repositioned the frigid pocket of air to give you a winter you'll never forget.

Areas affected by this cold snap should expect coastal flooding and hurricane-force winds.

Here's something to consider if you live near water: according to Accuweather.com, "The action of cold air passing over the relatively warm waters of the Great Lakes will unleash bands of lake-effect flurries, snow and squalls from the Upper Midwest to the interior Northeast."

winter-stormSo, while the polar vortex is not a storm itself, the release of this much cold air could trigger storms when it reaches warmer regions, and the collision of warm and cool temperature pressures makes strong winds.

Last year, the effects of the polar vortex on areas of the U.S. were as intense as 80 inches of snowfall, overflowing icy rivers, and biting cold temperature sin the teens, according to CBS.

The Wind Chill Factor

Think about it this way: Pressure + Snow = Freezing.

  • If you live in snowy regions, you should probably prepare for temperatures as cold as minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit, as high pressure winds blow over snowfall, temperatures will be significantly colder than is comfortable or even safe.
  • In fact there is expected to be wind chills in the single digits.

Wind chill is important to consider because, if you haven't noticed, 40°F can feel more like 30°F if winds are strong enough. This is because the insulating layer of heat that rests just above our skin, called the thermal boundary layer, becomes thinner when the wind blows.

The stronger the wind, the thinner the insulating layer is so that our skin feels the atmospheric temperature more than it usually does when the thermal boundary layer is thicker.

According to Intellicast, "The wind chill temperature (often popularly called the wind chill factor) is always lower than the air temperature, except at higher temperatures where wind chill is considered less important."

  • Wind chill can also stress the circulatory system, so people with heart problems should be careful. Cold temperatures constrict arteries and that can result in tears, clots, and heart attacks. Blood pressure is then affected, increasing as your body struggles to circulate your blood through these constricted arteries.
  • Frostbite is a concern for areas that could reach negative temperatures.
  • Hypothermia is a common risk of the cold, which can easily be prevented if you are dressed appropriately or if you have an appropriate heater for your home or office.

Stay indoors as much as you can.

girl-winter-clothingRefrain from outdoor activities if it is just too cold outside. Don't push your luck and be aware of the wind chill factor and risks like frostbite. If it is raining as well, this will increase the cold that you feel.

There are plenty of indoor activities like reading or drinking that you can participate in.

Don't eat too much.

More calories and fat can put added stress on your heart and body in general.

When outdoors wear proper clothing.

Weather-proof clothing is a must.

Extremities like arms and legs get cold the fastest. This includes the head as well. A lot of heat is lost though the head, ears, and feet. Make sure to cover your head with a hate or ear muffs, and to keep your feet warm and dry.

Natural fabrics like wool are perfect for keeping you warm while also letting you breathe, so you don't overheat.

More synthetic fabrics like polyester don't let you breathe as much, which might seem like a good thing because you can stay warm, but then you can't avoid the extreme chill you might get from feeling just a bit of wind on a sweaty, exposed part of skin.

So stay warm, but not too warm!

Get a heater. Or two.

With a heater you never have to worry about being too warm, because adjustable temperatures keep things just right.

Now you know how cold it's going to be, so wrap up and stay warm. Have a sneak peek at our heater selection:

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It is important to remember that if you get a portable heater, it must be the right size for the room you plan on putting it in. If you have a spot heater versus a room heater, you might want to buy however many would be appropriate for the size room you are in and the number of people that will be needing them.

  • Micathermic heaters are ultra-silent, ultra-safe, and ultra-compact and portable. They use a combination of convective and radiative heat to make sure you get warm faster and for longer.
  • Baseboard heaters are great room heaters that rely on convection to circulate heat through a room, so you won't have to worry as much about it using up energy like fan- forced heaters do.
  • Radiative heaters, like infrared heaters, focus on heating the objects and people in a room first, which then heat up the atmosphere in the room. Though any kind of draft would make you feel chilly instantly, so the room your radiative heater is in should be very well insulated.
  • Garage heaters are perfect for garages, workshops, and other less-insulated areas of your home or work space that would make running central heating in these rooms in the winter time a waste of energy and money. This polar vortex might just feel like another change in weather when you get one of these for yourself.

Now that you know what kind of frigid temperatures are headed your way this winter, you know what to do about it.

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