TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - When it comes to the polar vortex, it has become a popular term.
However the difference between strong and weak has a different meaning.
Storm Team 10 talked to Mike Ryan from the National Weather Service in Indianapolis.
He says sometimes, the term gets a little misinterpreted.
"Polar vortex, and I think a lot of reasons why it's been latched onto, people affiliate that with really cold and snowy conditions, it's something that naturally occurs. It's there every winter."
So here's what happens.
When we have a strong polar vortex, that means the jet is strong.
That means our weather is more seasonal here, and keeps the cold arctic air bottled up near the north pole.
When we have a weak polar vortex, that means the jet is weak.
What this means, is the cold arctic air moves down toward us in the states, giving us big temperature extremes.
So when we get those extremes, it's actually because we are experiencing a weak polar vortex.