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If you live somewhere in Midwestern United States, you’re probably holed up in your room wearing layers of clothes and covered with lots of blankets with a hot drink right beside you. The country is currently in the midst of a polar vortex, described by the ever-reliable Wikipedia as “an upper-level low-pressure area” near one of the planet’s poles. In other words, it’s really, really, really cold.

It’s so cold that in Chicago, the train tracks were apparently set on fire so they’d warm up a bit. A fountain left running in Minneapolis has completely turned into a mountain of ice. Roads are completely frozen and vehicles are slipping and sliding and ice have already formed along the banks of Lake Michigan. The polar vortex has turned half the country into a dangerously icy place and people are advised to do what is necessary to survive the cold.


Stay Warm

It may seem impossible right now but you need to stay warm. Here are a few ways you can stay warm and survive the polar vortex:



One set of clothes will not be enough to protect you from the polar vortex. You need more. Start off with the right underwear. Avoid anything made of cotton for the first layer, or the clothes that will directly touch your skin. Even if it’s really cold, the activities you do in our home may make you sweat a bit. Cotton doesn’t dry quickly enough and will make you feel colder. Choose thermal underwear or anything made of nylon or other synthetic fibers.

For your succeeding layers, wear something made of wool or fleece to help with the insulation. Your third layer should be a wind-resistant jacket or coat.

Don’t forget your extremities or the parts of your body not covered by your clothes. Wear polyester socks topped by thick wool socks. The first layer will absorb sweat from your feet while the wool socks will protect them from the cold. This may be not for everyone but fur boots are great for keeping the feet warm. But since this article is about staying warm and safe from the polar vortex, boots with real fur is the best (yet unethical) option.

You should also wear a pair of gloves or mittens, and a hat or beanie. Put on ear muffs and a scarf so you can cover you face, especially your nose.



You need ample amounts of fluid to keep your body warm. A hot cup of cocoa or coffee feels really good at a time like this but they do little to keep you warm as opposed to simply staying well hydrated with the help of plain old water. Decaffeinated tea will also do your body good. The body can regulate its internal temperature better when it is properly hydrated. That means your warm inside even if it’s cold outside.



Your body generates heat internally when it is digesting food. Eating also allows blood to flow into your tummy and the rest of your body helping it stay warm. Eat if you must but be careful not to finish everything you have. You must avoid going out to buy food and supplies while the polar vortex is still out there.


Stay Indoors

A woman was recently in the news after offering 100 homeless people a place to stay for one night while the polar vortex was pounding Chicago. The Good Samaritan booked 30 rooms for these people to stay warm in after the temperature hit negative 22 degrees. Other people heard of her deed and helped out. They managed to book 70 rooms to keep 122 souls off the streets and out of the cold for five nights.

Hopefully, you have a home of your own. Stay inside and don’t risk going out unless it’s really an emergency.


Prep Your Home for the Polar Vortex

Polar vortex is a relatively new phenomenon and scientists are just finding out more about it. What we do know is that the polar vortex brings extremely cold temperature that may be deadly for the ill-prepared.

If you’ve experienced this before, you should have already started on making your home polar vortex-proof. If you haven’t yet, here’s what you need to do:

Give your home a thorough inspection making sure you catch all the cracks and holes. Seal them to keep the cold from entering. Your windows and door should close completely. Make the necessary adjustments if they don’t.

Get yourself a water leak protection system so you can fix leaks immediately. You don’t want leaking faucets during a polar vortex. Also, make sure all your faucets are not dripping so you don’t have to deal with ice and low pressure later on.

Install proper insulation in your home. Include the pipes in your list of things to be insulated.

If the polar vortex has yet to knock on your door, you may want to consider leaving for some place warmer. Before you go, make sure the water supply is turned off and the water system drained.


Stock Up

If you’re one of those people who looked at preppers like they were silly or crazy, this is exactly what they were preparing for. One can never know what emergency situation will strike next. You can only prepare and hope that nothing really bad happens. Unfortunately, something is happening right now and is affecting pretty much everyone.

Fill your pantry while you still can. If it gets too frighteningly cold, you’ll be risking your life going out to get supplies. Ideally, you should already have a pantry full of food, water and other necessities.

Check your first aid kit and replenish those you’ve used up. Buy enough medicines to last until the polar vortex is done breathing down your necks. If you have an infant, make sure you stick up on baby formula and other needs. You should also consider the needs of the elderly. The same goes with your beloved pets. Speaking of pets, don’t leave them outside during the polar vortex. Take them inside.


Survival Gear

If you’re in your home, you should have everything you need to survive the polar vortex. This is especially true if you’ve been prepping for some time now. For those on the road, things may be a bit trickier. If you’ve been following the news, you probably heard of truckers getting stranded after the roads became too treacherous. There was even a family whose car was stuck in snow for 15 hours. If these things happen to you, the prospect of survival is better if you are prepared.

You need fire to keep warm. If you have a fireplace in your home, that’s good. If you’re stranded outside, you should be able to start a fire to keep from freezing to death. Pack different kinds of fire starters such as waterproof matches, lighter and magnesium flints just to be sure.

Always pack extra clothes, weather-appropriate clothes, and beddings wherever you go. There may be times you will be forced to sleep in your vehicle. Even one wool blanket will make a huge difference. Pack some thermal blankets and ponchos, as well.

Your vehicle should have its own emergency kit. This should include signal mirror, emergency whistle and other ways you can communicate to other people that you need help. A hand crank or battery-operated radio will be pretty useful as well as a CB or HAM radio. Of course, you should always have your phone with you. Keep an extra battery pack or a powerbank just to be sure.


Climate Change

Scientists believe there is a connection between climate change and the current polar vortex. Despite some people in power mocking global warning and dismissing climate change as a hoax, no one can completely ignore what is happening right now.

We can do our share to prevent things from worsening but it will take some time and everybody needs to be on the same page. In the meantime, we can the little things and prepare for the polar vortex and other repercussions of man’s foolishness.

Check out The Gentleman Pirate for more tips and tricks on surviving cold weather and other scenarios.

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