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.
Look at this amazing #sunrise over #lakeMichican and the #Chicago skyline on a historically cold day. #Chiberia #Chicagoweather #PolarVortex @accuweather @breakingweather pic.twitter.com/1LE1OrUUCI— Jonathan Petramala (@jpetramala) January 30, 2019
It’s a little cold in #Chiberia @barstoolWSD @barstoolcarl @RedLineRadio pic.twitter.com/jzhVQQnLAz— Terry Greenbeans (@TerryGreenbeans) January 30, 2019
#ChiberiaPosted 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.
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.
Wanna know how cold it is in #CHICAGO? Check out the ice on the INSIDE of my windows this morning! #PolarVortex STAY WARM! pic.twitter.com/nxjZTdK5l6— Claire Scatter (@ClaireScatter) January 30, 2019
Chilly morning in #Chicago #PolarVortex pic.twitter.com/RZjz0sCFe8— Mark Powell (@FrGoose13) January 30, 2019
In fact, it’s gotten so cold that Chicago authorities have purposefully set fire to train tracks in order to keep them from contracting.
❄️ #PolarVortex2019: Crews set fires to keep train tracks from contracting as Chicago faces record low temperatures pic.twitter.com/VXhrKPnpX2— QuickTake by Bloomberg (@QuickTake) January 30, 2019
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.
Boiling water freezes before it hits the ground. -22/-49 windchill in Chicago. #Chicago #Jaden #chiberia pic.twitter.com/UPYVjloGBk— clay carroll (@Clay_Carroll) January 30, 2019
Having fun in Deerfield. -22 #chiberia. @MikeJanssenWX @PaulKonrad pic.twitter.com/BY4UsoGVfw— Bob (@pnthuntr) January 30, 2019
Throwing a cup of boiling water in the air, when it’s minus 27 degrees (celsius). #chicago #PolarVortex2019 pic.twitter.com/fgRZHnwVvo— Adam Roberts (@ARobertsjourno) January 30, 2019
Someone even created an official Chiberian flag.
Official flag of #Chiberia #chiberia2019 pic.twitter.com/5PXFJa4kFf— MM of LB (@MMoeling) January 28, 2019
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.