Just how cold is it where we're experiencing the polar vortex? Watch how fast this this water freezes in Chicago and you get a pretty good idea.

Here are some other random facts about just how cold it really is throughout the country

  • It's so cold you could warm up in Siberia is warmer.  Not all of it, but some of it.  For example, the lows around the U.S. are lower than Tobolsk, Russia, in Siberia.
  • The surface of mars would be warmer.  Mars is 78 million miles further from the sun than the Earth, but parts of it are warmer right now than say, the minus 42 temperatures in northern Minnesota.
  • It's so cold that the a polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago has been hiding in her 40-degree, indoor habitat rather than staying outside.  Since she was born in captivity, she doesn't have a thick enough layer of fat to take this kind of cold.
  • It's so cold that there's a guy in Fargo, North Dakota who's spending the day in a walk-in freezer in his store  because it's minus-10, and outside it's negative-40
  • Antifreeze can freeze.  At negative-34 degrees, Prestone freezes.  Even alcohol can freeze.  Vodka freezes at minus -16.51 degrees.

CNN / Smithsonian / National Journal / Time