Illinois residents had it very easy in December and the first half of January, but severe and punishing weather changes are ahead, that may last up to six to eight weeks, thanks to a fracture in the Polar Vortex

The Polar Vortex is a huge area of intensely cold air that originates in the Arctic that is headed our way due to a weather pattern change. Illinois and much of the Eastern half of the United States can expect very cold temperatures over the next 10 days

According to the Washington Post

Weather models project the onset of a severe and punishing winter weather pattern in just over 10 days, with extreme cold and heightened storminess. In fact, the transition to this harsh winter pattern has likely already begun.

 

Before and during the vortex disruption, locations east of the Rockies basked in unusually mild weather for weeks. Washington, D.C., witnessed 28 days of unusually warm weather, and the first half of January ranked among the top 10 warmest on record in Minneapolis and Milwaukee.

This weekend, Illinois residents will notice the beginning of the changes.

NWS Graphic

The Rockford area will be getting hit with as much as 8 or more inches of snow according to the National Weather Service, followed by a plunge into very cold temperatures.

Forecasters expect this pattern to last well into the month of February. According to the Washington Post:

Once this wintry pattern becomes entrenched, it may be difficult to dislodge.

Get used to it. Winter is finally here and it is not going away anytime soon.