If you haven’t heard, Chicago has been hit hard with a polar vortex, resulting in historically low temperatures. It is so cold that people on social media have dubbed the city #Chiberia. There are also reports that the weather could even create “frost quakes,” which cause large booming noises. Forecasters predict the temperature could drop as low as -26 in Chicago this week.
Besides causing schools and cultural institutions to close and flights to be canceled, the weather has also had a fascinating effect on Lake Michigan, the body of water bordering the city’s shore. Since the air above the lake is colder than the frozen ice, steam is rising from the water, creating a meteorological phenomenon referred to as “diamond dust.” It’s an occurrence most typical in arctic regions.
Check out this video someone took of Lake Michigan looking like a “boiling cauldron”:
This amazing occurrence doesn’t just happen on the lake either. One Twitter user demonstrated a similar effect when he threw a mug of boiling water into the freezing cold air. Instead of simply falling back down, the water froze into crystals that swirled in the air like snowy smoke before blowing away. See for yourself in the video below:
— Adam Roberts (@ARobertsjourno) January 30, 2019
Yikes, now that’s cold. With freezing temperatures like this, it’s important to stay safe. Dressing appropriately when you have to go outside is crucial. The National Weather Service recommends wearing inner layer of clothing that’s loose and lightweight. While that may seem counterproductive, the NWS states that wearing looser clothing underneat your outerwear actually allows air to form between the layers and better insulate you.
On top, wear tightly woven, water repellent and preferably hooded outerlayers. Residents of the affected states should also wear a hat and tight-fitting mittens and to cover their mouths when possible to protect their lungs.
Above all, the National Weather Service also encourages people to stay indoors as much as possible. Staying dry and out of the wind and cold is always the best and safest option, regardless of how many layers you’re wearing.
Stay warm and safe out there, Chicago!