The polar vortex was all over the news (and our thermostats) last year, and for many people that was first they'd heard of the alarming phenomenon. But the phrase actually originated over 150 years ago in a magazine edited by Charles Dickens, as explained in this linguistic history of the term.

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DISCUSSION

AlphonseBrown
Guild_Navigator

Polar maelstrom sounds cooler...

Also,it was the vortex that heped Frozen be a megahit...