Remember over the summer when everyone couldn’t wait until it got cold so they could start dressing? Hot summer days spent longing for cozy winter nights are now a distant memory for Midwesterners suffering record low temperatures in a snowy polar vortex.
The cold spell over Chicago – nicknamed "Chiberia" as a portmanteau of the state and its new temperature twin Siberia – has shut down schools, buses, businesses, planes, trains, automobiles, and even the postal service, whose slogan promises timely delivery in “rain, sleet or snow.” But desperate times call for extreme measures, and the polar vortex has effectively halted all activity across the region.
While most Chicago residents are trying to stay warm and make the most of the snow days, the state’s homeless population is facing acute risk as temps continue to drop well below freezing. To ensure the safety and comfort of as many Chicago residents as possible, medical officials and local businesses are working together to provide shelter for the duration of the cold front.
You might think it’s cold where you live.
Looks harmless. DONT BE FOOLED!!!! #Chiberia #RecordCold https://t.co/LsIpjfVmJr— Kevin Mooney (@Kevin Mooney)1548873550.0
But it’s really cold in Chicago.
Chiberia. Lake Michigan at -50 degrees. 1.30.19 #chiberia2019 #Chicagoweather #PolarVotex #RogersPark https://t.co/JC76BJHMJ7— Jake Pie (@Jake Pie)1548877397.0
With added wind chill, the city is experiencing -51 degree weather.To put that in perspective, it only takes a wind chill of 25 degrees below zero to freeze skin in 15 minutes according to the National Weather Service.
Apparently, the cold front is a result of unexpected warming over the North Pole.
Tied at the half #chiberia #PolarVortex https://t.co/FoQAB0RqaO— heroabstract (@heroabstract)1548839984.0
That rapid, unusual temp shift split the polar vortex.
Normally, the #PolarVortex 🌀 swirls around the Arctic, trapping cold air near the Pole. Recently, this pressure sys… https://t.co/zlMMx84MPh— NASA Earth (@NASA Earth)1548871920.0
People are calling the vortex "Chiberia."
It was 1 degree when I took these pics. Chicago is expected to be colder than Antarctica and Siberia this week.… https://t.co/tZeS2qWKKM— megan riley (@megan riley)1548779754.0
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced the weather conditions as a public-health risk.
Wednesday Sunrise in Chiberia. Chicago at Minus-21 degrees Fahrenheit. #weather #chicago #news #ilwx #winter… https://t.co/w2eb23RIPi— Barry Butler (@Barry Butler)1548856399.0
Governors across Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin have declared a state of emergency.
Hashtag eyelash icicles. #Chiberia #PolarVortex https://t.co/PA6Zr8R5yz— Pedro Lisbão (@Pedro Lisbão)1548879939.0
Public transportation was hampered by the polar vortex cold.
Tomorrow's mass transit in Chiberia #weather #chicago https://t.co/bncZVBtP92— Barry Butler (@Barry Butler)1548808223.0
Flights and trains have been canceled too.
More than 1,000 flights to and from Chicago have been canceled: 854 flights at O'Hare International Airport and 224… https://t.co/HlZWXzzbIt— USA TODAY Travel (@USA TODAY Travel)1548744484.0
Even the U.S. Postal Service had to stop deliveries.
The #PolarVortex is so bad that the U.S. Postal Service won't deliver mail today in parts of North and South Dakota… https://t.co/LSihz4rqVO— AJ+ (@AJ+)1548867530.0
Local Chicago attractions like the Art Institute, Field Museum, and Lincoln Park Zoo are temporarily shuttered.
Look at this amazing #sunrise over #lakeMichican and the #Chicago skyline on a historically cold day. #Chiberia… https://t.co/E3jskTieUx— Jonathan Petramala (@Jonathan Petramala)1548855371.0
Schools and most businesses are temporarily out of commission.
The #PolarVortex couldn't stop these Chicagoans from getting to work today. More photos: https://t.co/k0Xka7B93l https://t.co/ozWlTfQblU— Chicago Sun-Times (@Chicago Sun-Times)1548878079.0
Unfortunately, homes aren’t really all that warm either.
When outdoor air meets indoor air in #Chiberia #PolarVortex https://t.co/8YRneEuz3N— kathy kiran (@kathy kiran)1548874040.0
People are sharing the most insane photos from Chiberia 2019.This is a straight-up horror movie.
Not even a nice, hot shower is safe.
Chilly morning in #Chicago #PolarVortex https://t.co/RZjz0sCFe8— Mark Powell (@Mark Powell)1548856491.0
But frozen steam is the least of it.
Throwing a cup of boiling water in the air, when it’s minus 27 degrees (celsius). #chicago #PolarVortex2019 https://t.co/fgRZHnwVvo— Adam Roberts (@Adam Roberts)1548854704.0
Don’t go outside with wet hair.
I guess it was a bad idea to go out and get the newspaper this morning 🌬️ #PolarVortex 🥶 #ClimateChange 🌨️ https://t.co/m1i0PkgWBO— 💫 Arizona KAL ..the🎯riginal 🏹 (@💫 Arizona KAL ..the🎯riginal 🏹)1548775552.0
Maybe postpone laundry day.
It’s a little cold in #Chiberia @barstoolWSD @barstoolcarl @RedLineRadio https://t.co/jzhVQQnLAz— Terry Greenbeans (@Terry Greenbeans)1548865970.0
Some are trying to make the most of it.With a water gun that would make Mr. Freeze proud.
Others are trying everything to stay warm.
We made a breakthrough in insulating techniques this morning. #PolarVortex #Chicago https://t.co/Ljd36JXNZY— Jim Hambleton (@Jim Hambleton)1548867962.0
Pet owners are taking extra care with their furbabies.
Later tonight, and tomorrow, when things get really cold, we’ll add their windbreaker jackets from a famous horse b… https://t.co/oqewtAGpaj— J.F. Riordan (@J.F. Riordan)1548806188.0
And everyone is dressing in layers.
Just before my commute this morning. -23 and -50 wind chill. I'm glad I got to skip the altitude sickness on my rid… https://t.co/3qSYItQ8o1— Parker A Thompson (@Parker A Thompson)1548854632.0
While some are finding ways to get through the dreadful weather, the situation is grave for many.
The #PolarVortex turned deadly. At least 4 people died yesterday: • Man, 75, killed by a snow plow near Chicago •… https://t.co/E9It3TTkS4— AJ+ (@AJ+)1548872377.0
Power is down across the state of Illinois.
7AM Temperature & Wind Chill Check: The wind chill at O’Hare has fallen to a remarkable and dangerous -52°F. (O… https://t.co/rzIKOc1MWn— Mike Hamernik (@Mike Hamernik)1548854213.0
The National Weather Service called conditions “frigid and dangerous."
Whatever they pay him, it's not enough. #Chiberia https://t.co/X6iIkYqGzq— He incited a riot that got a cop killed. Impeach. (@He incited a riot that got a cop killed. Impeach.)1548781008.0
Unfortunately, staying inside a home isn’t an option for some.The city is working to provide shelter and care for its homeless population by converting buses into makeshift warming centers staffed with nurses.
The rideshare company Lyft is lending a hand too.
If you see someone obviously in need in Chicago, get them in a Lyft. It costs you nothing. https://t.co/6bzebTIPBP— Joel Kim Booster (@Joel Kim Booster)1548826574.0
Officials are urging those with resources to step up during this emergency.
Baby it’s cold outside 🥶 (📷: @CDCgov) #PolarVortex2019 #PolarVortex #cold #Weather #staywarm https://t.co/HyquMWk7o6— SOOZY Q 📱 (@SOOZY Q 📱)1548885174.0
Hopefully, it won’t be long before the city sees sunny days again.
If you've had enough of feeling numb after being outside for just two minutes, we have good news! Temperatures are… https://t.co/Vzntt8BDBJ— NWS Twin Cities (@NWS Twin Cities)1548846916.0