JERSEY CITY - A polar vortex is a circulation of strong, upper level winds that normally surround the North Pole.
While these winds normally keep the bitter cold air locked in the arctic regions, at certain times the vortex becomes distorted leading to major cold air outbreaks that have now spread through the northern United States.
Nearly half of the US has plunged into a record deep freeze, zero or lower.
From Monday's high 50's, Jersey City's temperature dropped to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and the wind chill factor makes it feel like minus 7 degrees.
"Sobrang lamig! Daig pa yung nakabaon tayo sa yelo," said Roberto Luna.
"Magsuot ng makapal na medyas, magdoble-doble ng jacket, sweater, saka tatakpan mo yung tenga mo," said Peter Tuazon.
Francisca Rivera added, "Masakit sa mukha lalo na kung windy pa mahangin pa yun sobrtang lamig".
For store stockers like Juanilio Corbelia, the brutally cold weather makes it even harder for him to do his job.
"Mahirap talaga kasi manginig ka. Magsuot talaga ng makapal panglamig kasi baka magkapulmonia," he said.
It's a slow day for many Filipino restaurants in New Jersey's Little Manila.
"Naapektuhan rin kami dahil yung mga matatandang customer namin hindi nakakalabas dahil malamig nga," said restaurant chef Violeta Manalili.
For retired seniors like Gene Ligon, stocking weeks' worth of non-perishable food is a must, especially when the wicked weather could cause power outages.
"Mag-imbak na talaga para hindi na lalabas," he said.
Some Filipino-owned businesses decided to shut down operations because of the extreme cold weather.
A Filipino restaurant server came to work only to find out that his restaurant is closed for the day.
"Kanina nakita ko na yung temperature nag-drop ng negative dahil sa wind chill, so hindi ko naman ine-expect na magsasara, siguro gawa nga ng lamig ng panahon," said Brian Sarayba.
A Filipino nurse has this practical advice for Filipinos feeling the effects of the weather phenomenon called polar vortex.
"If it's not really necessary for you to go out, don't go out," said Eileen Santos.