You Know It’s Seriously Cold When…

Nine ways the "Polar Vortex" is worse than your average winter freeze

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When the thermometer goes this far below zero, some seriously freaky stuff can occur. You know you’re suffering from the effects of a polar vortex when:

1) You can freeze eggs outside.
Ten bucks says this is the same guy who’s always out there frying eggs in a heat wave.

2) You can make snow in a tea kettle.

Unless you burn your crotch with the boiling water (warning, NSFW language:)

3) Even ski resorts are staying closed.
Minnesota closed some of its ski resorts, ice rinks, and sledding hills, because it was officially too cold to have fun.

Empty Ski lifts

Getty Images

4) When you pee outside, it turns into yellow fog.
Warning: it will probably hurt. Check out this video if you have the stomach for it. (NSFW for some bad language)

5) Escaped prisoners think jail is better than being outside.
Robert Vick, who was serving a six year sentence for burglary, escaped from prison wearing only khaki pants, a shirt and a jacket. He turned himself in to escape the cold.

This undated photo provided by Kentucky Department of Corrections, Robert Vick is shown. Authorities say Vick, an inmate, escaped from a minimum security facility in Lexington on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. As temperatures dropped into the low single digits Monday, they say he walked into a motel and asked the clerk to call police. Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts says 42-year-old Vick of Hartford told the clerk he wanted to turn himself in and escape the arctic air.

6) Even polar bears are staying indoors
The Chicago zoo’s polar bear, Anana, will spend the next few days inside, away from the arctic temperatures. Zoo officials say that while polar bear usually deal with this kind of cold all the time, Anana doesn’t have the insulating layer of fat that keep most of her northern relatives warm.
Anana, Polar Bear

Todd Rosenberg Photography 2013 / Lincoln Park Zoo

Anana the Lincoln Park Zoo polar bear

7) People are hanging out in their freezers to escape the cold.
Frozen food manager Kevin Stoick of Fargo N.D.  says he would rather stay inside his industrial freezer than go outside, because at least “there’s no wind chill”

8) Canada is being rocked by “frost quakes.”

These wintery tremors are caused by underground water freezing and expanding underground, causing loud booming sounds and terrifying cracks in the ground.

9) You’re praying for a Martian winter.
Temperatures in Minnesota plunged to beneath -50F with wind chill. That’s comparable to temperatures on Mars. In fact, -50F would be a cold day on the Red Planet. It’s like a snow day for Martian children up in Minnesota.

South Polar Cap in Mars.


South Polar Cap in Mars.

10) Firefighters are battling ice as well as fire
Fire crews in Chicago have been struggling with frozen fire hydrants and hoses, as well as ice encrusting their uniforms and equipment.

Frigid temperatures cause icing problems for the Chicago Fire Department personnel who responded to a 2-alarm fire on the south side on  Jan. 6, 2014.

Nathan Weber

Frigid temperatures cause icing problems for the Chicago Fire Department personnel who responded to a 2-alarm fire on the south side on Jan. 6, 2014.