GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (MEDIA GENERAL) – The term “polar vortex” may be overused, misused and confusing.

But, the reality is, this week, it is real. Much of the country will be wrapped up in the first real polar vortex of this winter season this weekend. After last year’s brutally cold winter, the “polar vortex” has become the lexicon of winter weather language.

So what is a polar vortex? A polar vortex is the coldest temperatures found in the northern hemisphere relative to average from the surface to 18,000 feet above ground. It is forecast to happen this weekend.

“The polar vortex will continue to throw arctic air out of  Canada into the region. The source, being from from the arctic region, will be frigid, dry air that will challenge area record lows through the weekend and into next week,” said Storm Team 27 meteorologist Paul Wetzl. “The vortex will swing a storm system through here to produce dangerous wind chills, with rounds of light snow for the duration of the storm.”

Sometimes Arctic air quickly hits then moves on, but this polar vortex is made to last. The latest eight to 14-day temperature outlook for the United States from Feb. 19 through Feb. 25 shows very cold temperatures. The coldest temperatures relative to average are forecast to be centered over the Great Lakes.

It looks as if this March will follow in the same footsteps as last March. So, book those spring break plans to the deep South or out West if you want to warm up anytime soon.