By Carlos Delgado

First off, thank goodness we live in sunny southern California, where right now in Culver City it’s a cool 66 degrees. It may seem chilly to us spoiled Los Angelinos, but compared to the rest of the country, it’s downright sweltering over here.

It’s all due to the polar vortex busting loose and plunging south into the continental US, bringing the cold arctic air with it.

“How cold is it,” you ask? It’s hard for us to relate, because we simply don’t experience temperatures like those facing much of the country right now. 30 degrees is hard enough to imagine, much less a wind chill of -40.

We’ve rounded up a few stories that demonstrate just how absolutely frigid it is out there.

Frankfurt, Kentucky: An escaped prisoner walked into a motel and asked the clerk to call the police. The reason? He wanted to turn himself in to escape the cold… (NY Post)

Chicago, Illinois: The typical polar bear can withstand temperatures of -50 degrees. But it’s been so cold that zoo keepers at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago actually kept their polar bear, Anana, inside to protect him. In all fairness, because of being in captivity, Anana has never developed the layer of insulating blubber that a wild polar bear possess. (CNN)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: African Penguins can also handle pretty chilly environments, but they weren’t taking any chances at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh. The birds will be kept inside until temperatures warm up. (CNN)

St. Paul, Minnesota: Anne Spiess lost control of her truck while driving on a bridge and plunged dozens of feet to the pond below. The thing is, it’s so cold out there, she didn’t crash into the pond, she crashed onto it, as in she didn’t break through the ice. Luckily Spiess walked away with only minor injuries. (CBS Minnesota)

Stupidville, USA: To demonstrate how cold it is outside, people have taken boiling pots of water and flung it into the air to watch it “instantly” freeze. Unfortunately, the water doesn’t freeze as instantly as they had hoped, resulting in numerous burns. Apparently the cold affects higher brain functions. Check it out. (Buzzfeed)


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