As if this year couldn’t get any worse, a polar vortex is expected to hit a large chunk of the U.S. next week, with parts already experiencing the life-threatening lows now. For anyone who remembers the horrors of January 2014, this only means one thing: lock yourself inside and watch Netflix until it’s over, or prepare to freeze your ass off and possibly lose a few limbs from hypothermia.
So what can we expect this year? According to Reuters, a freezing blast similar to the one we experienced in 2014 will make its way back to parts of the U.S. this winter. “Upper-level atmosphere configuration very similar in scale & magnitude as infamous Jan 2014 #PolarVortex popularized by me and @afreedma,” meteorologist Ryan Maue said on Twitter Tuesday, with maps comparing the two weather systems.
Meteorologists expect the polar vortex to hit in two waves; the Upper Midwest, the Rocky Mountains, and parts of the midwest are already experiencing the first wave, where temperatures have dropped 20-30 degrees below the area’s average temperature.
The second wave is expected to hit on December 16, 2016, and it’s supposedly going to be way worse than the first. According to several computer models — which The Washington Post said were “unanimous” — the northern Rockies and the northern plains will be experiencing the brutally cold weather as soon as Sunday, December 11, 2016. From there, it will reach Chicago by Tuesday (12/13) and the northeast by Wednesday (12/14) or Thursday (12/15).
Luckily there is some good news. Unlike in 2014, this year’s polar vortex is happening in mid-December, when temperatures aren’t as cold as they are in mid-January. By the time the second wave hits the northeast on Wednesday, it won’t be as cold as it was on Sunday. Of course, this doesn’t justify the fact that when you walk outside your face will feel like it’s freezing off regardless of the month.
So, to recap, if you’re currently living in the Upper Midwest, the Rocky Mountains or parts of the midwest affected by this horrifying cold front, lock your doors, start a nice fire, cuddle up with some hot chocolate and start rewatching Gilmore Girls for the 17h time this year. For everyone else, mark this on your calendar for next week.