The polar vortex striking the US will cause temperatures to plummet up to 40 degrees colder than normal

The polar vortex is headed toward the US, expected to bring record-breaking cold to the Northeast, upper Midwest, and Great Lakes by this week. It’s so cold that it could give people frostbite in just 5 minutes.

Each year, a pocket of frigid air – the polar vortex – forms over the Arctic, and it usually stays north of the US. But some of it has broken off and is travelling south where it will hit the hardest in Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan, causing temperatures to plummet by as much as 40 degrees Fahrenheit below normal.

The National Weather Service tweeted that windchill will be the coldest since the mid-1990s for some regions.

Some regions are already starting to see record-breaking cold. International Falls, Minnesota hit -46 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, its fifth-lowest temperature on record. And the weather service in Des Moines, Iowa stated: “This is the coldest air many of us will have ever experienced.”

The worst of the storm is expected to hit from Tuesday through Thursday and is forecast to dwindle by Friday. So bundle up because “brutal cold is coming.”