The phrase "polar vortex" is being used EVERYWHERE today, so we were wondering: what exactly does it mean? Is it dangerous, or is the media just using another phrase to make us all nervous? Well, we found out!The polar vortex is a low polar low-pressure system that normally surrounds the North Pole. That's right! It's so cold right now that the air technically came from the North Pole.  The system, which not a single storm, usually keeps the cold air locked in the Arctic.

What is bringing the Polar Vortex down so far south? You can blame the Arctic Oscillation. "The winds in the Polar Vortex decrease significantly, allowing the vortex to become distorted, and the result is a jet stream that plunges deep into southern latitudes, bringing the cold, dense Arctic air spilling down with it," according to CNN's Senior Meteorologist Brandon Miller.

CNN reports that an outbreak of the Polar Vortex is more common than you may realize. Last March the vortex pushed into Europe, causing a VERY cold Easter holiday.

When will the cold snap be over? says we relief will happen slowly, but it is coming. "When the strong air from the Eastern Pacific weakens and falls apart, the polar vortex will retreat and go back into place near the North Pole," they reported earlier today.

The Polar Vortex (@PolarVortex) has his own Twitter account. Apparently the Vortex is mad at the media, so Twitter was a logical step:

Just in case you were wondering who to blame for this cold air, the Vortex answered that too: