Despite sounding like a setting from an episode of Doctor Who, the polar vortex that is affecting parts of the US brings with it some serious consequences. This winter phenomenon has caused several travel delays, school closures, disrupted business and farming, and anywhere from seventeen to twenty-one deaths have been reported. A polar vortex is a technical name for the “gigantic mass of swirling dense air” that normally sits at the North Pole. The polar vortex has moved further south than usual, causing Midwesterners to get an actual artic experience. In fact, according to Nick Wiltgen from the Weather Channel the term ‘artic outbreak’ is a more accurate term than ‘polar vortex’ to describe the dramatic cooling effect the Midwestern and eastern portions of the U.S. are currently experiencing. For an even better explanation of what a polar vortex (or artic outbreak) is, take a look at this ABC news clip. Also, check out the Reuters article, “Polar Freeze Grips United States, Disrupting Travel and Business" to see exactly how cold things are. Even if you don’t live in an area affected by the polar vortex, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to start thinking about ways to stay warm in extreme winter weather. Our insight article, “Emergency Warmth” gives great ideas for keeping warm in an emergency, whether at home, outdoors, or on the road. In my part of the country, the post-Christmas stretch of winter can be the harshest. What about you? Are you prepared for real cold?