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Polar vortex reaches down into the U.S. again this week with temps below average

Though we survived through an experience with the polar vortex earlier this year, the United States, especially states in the midwest and east regions, will have to brace for more chilly conditions this week. According to USA Today, the weather will begin its descent into the Northern Plains on Monday and continue south and east throughout the week.

A man braves the cold to check out the icy shore of Lake Michigan as temperatures remain in the negative digits on January 7, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
A man braves the cold to check out the icy shore of Lake Michigan as temperatures remain in the negative digits on January 7, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Darren Hauck/Getty Images
 A woman bundles up against the cold on the afternoon of January 8, 2014 in New York City.
Getty Images/ Andrew Burton

Much like our earlier experience in 2014, this round with an extension of the polar vortex will bring a rash of days where highs will be in the single digits to cities like Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis and Buffalo. These temperatures will vary as much as 40 degrees from the yearly average.

As described by Slate, the term ‘polar vortex’ has been around for quite some time. It wasn’t created just to describe the recent drops in temperature we’ve been experiencing. The term serves to describe a circulating wind pattern that is situated over the North Pole. The ‘edge’ of the cortex isn’t defined by a solid line, but more like a squiggly one that can fluctuate north and south. When it moves farther south is when we have the pleasure of experiencing the cold temperatures of the North Pole. And while those in the Midwest experienced the chill, Alaskans experienced a receding of the polar vortex, which created temperatures that were warmer than usual, about 32 degrees warmer than usual.

And despite the chilly weather, it actually appears that globally, January was the fourth warmest January on record. Places including Russia, China Greenland and Alaska, as mentioned above, experienced the warmest temperatures.