Chicago bean

Ahmad Jassar/Flickr (CC-BY)

Chicago residents are posting insane pics and videos of their frozen city

Frozen doorknobs? No thanks!


David Britton

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 30, 2019   Updated on May 20, 2021, 8:20 pm CDT

Chicago has an average January low temperature of 21 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s already been as low as  -23 degrees today, making it more than 40 degrees colder than usual in the Windy City. Speaking of, with windchill we’re talking about the possibility of weather that feels like -50. Even for tough Chicagoans, that’s crazy cold. In fact, it’s the coldest the city has been since 1985 when it was a bone-chilling -27 degrees.

So how are Chicago residents dealing with the big freeze? With shock, ingenuity, and a fair amount of humor.

They’re calling the city “Chiberia” right now, a portmanteau of Chicago and Siberia. That phrase was first coined during the cold snap of 2014, although it’s worth noting it’s much colder this time around.

A quick search for #chiberia on social media turns up some amazing photographs and videos that will make you shiver just looking at them.

View this post on Instagram

#chicago #chiberia -23 #notatypo

A post shared by Walter Katz (@walterwkatz) on


Posted by Rob Quinn on Monday, January 28, 2019

Obviously, people are staying indoors as much as possible, but when they do go out they’re bundling up like they’re going to explore the South Pole (where, by the way, it is currently warmer than it is in Chicago).

And that includes residents who were born with fur coats.

View this post on Instagram

Chiberia – Stay warm friends!

A post shared by Rocky + Benny (@southsidegoodboys) on

Sure staying indoors seems like a great solution, but even that isn’t foolproof. Tons of people have posted about the icy conditions inside their homes.

In fact, it’s gotten so cold that Chicago authorities have purposefully set fire to train tracks in order to keep them from contracting.

But some people are braving the weather just to have a little fun. It seems that everyone wants a chance to throw some boiling water into the air and watch it turn to snow.

Someone even created an official Chiberian flag.

Luckily, the cold snap won’t be sticking around for too long. Friday’s high in Chicago will be a balmy 22 degrees above zero and by Saturday it will get up to 40 degrees. Way better than actual Siberia, where it will be around -35 before you factor in the windchill.

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*First Published: Jan 30, 2019, 1:03 pm CST