Winter weather is officially here, but however bad you think you have it it's nothing to some people. On Wednesday, Jan. 30 folks in the Midwest got hit with temperatures way below zero as a result of the polar vortex. It might be hard to picture what 20 degrees below zero — which is the weather in parts of Chicago on Wednesday morning — looks like. But these photos from the polar vortex in Chicago and the Midwest will give you literal chills. Ugh.
People across the Midwest are facing freezing temperatures as a result of the polar vortex. If you're wondering what exactly a polar vortex is or what it has to do with Chicago being called "Chiberia," this wintery unpleasantness is basically caused by arctic air traveling where it's not supposed to be. Generally, upper-level winds circulate around the North Pole and keep freezing air contained to the arctic regions. Sometimes, though, this "polar vortex" dips south and hit some regions with extreme winds and freezing temps, according to CNN. On the morning of Jan. 30, Chicago temperatures had already dropped well below zero — around 20 degrees or more below. According to The Weather Channel, temps in the Northern Plains and the Great Lakes could drop to around 40 degrees below zero. But it's not just those regions: while the Northeast won't get the brunt of the cold weather and is unlikely to drop below zero, folks there will still start to see temperatures drop significantly later in the week.
People throughout Chicago and the Midwest have been sharing photos and videos of the extreme weather to Twitter so the whole world can freeze with them. Misery loves company?
Check out this Twitter user who got out of the shower to find that the steam from their soak had turned to ice.
This person's doorknob has been magically covered in ice. Please take note that it's the doorknob on the inside.
Here are some more people finding ice in all the wrong places.
Tweeters also shared videos of themselves throwing boiling water into the air and watching it turn to ice instantaneously, and TBH I could probably watch these videos all day.
Art installation or Chicago window?
Is anyone else starting to shiver?
ABC News shared a video on Wednesday featuring the Chicago River more or less frozen.
ABC News also reported that it's so cold in Chicago crews are lighting fires in train tracks in order to keep the trains moving.
I mean, just look at this.
If you haven't picked up on it yet, it's extremely cold. If you happen to be living in one of the affected areas, you should probably stay indoors. But if that's not an option, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared a list of tips to help keep people safe during these freezing temps. For example, make sure you have waterproof boots and essentials like scarves, gloves, and hats. But the CDC also advises to layer up, so bust out all those woven sweaters taking up space in your closet. If you're really worried, The New York Times asked Chicagoans who work in extremely cold weather to give some tips on how to deal with the cold, and they advise to opt for snow pants over denim (among other tips). Also, and this might seem obvious but also important, don't stand still, but instead keep walking or moving. As someone who often stops walking while outside to answer a text, I can tell you it's probably not worth it. What with the polar vortex and all.
I'm not in the Midwest, but I can already feel my insides turning to ice. If you come looking for me and there's just a pile of water on the floor, well you can stop looking. But till then, stay warm!