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January 31, 2019

PHOTOS: It's a cold day in Hell across the Midwest

Weather Cold
DePaul students Source/For PhillyVoice

DePaul University students, some in nothing more than light jackets and basketball shorts, huddle on a Chicago street as they wait for a bus to take them to a game against Villanova Wednesday night. The temperature: 15 degrees below zero with a windchill of 35 degrees below at O'Hare Airport. "You call this cold?" one student asked.

Record-breaking cold seized the Midwest this week as a split polar vortex resulted in one of the coldest air masses in recorded history.

Fargo, North Dakota reported 31 degrees below Fahrenheit on Wednesday.

At the same time, it was 29 below in Minnesota, and 19 below in Chicago, with a wind chill of 57 below reported in northern Illinois.

It was so cold the mail didn't go through. More than 1,600 flights were canceled at Chicago airports. Frostbite is a concern after just 10 minutes outdoors.

Sure, it's been cold in Philly, but it's a cold day (or three) in Hell to the west. Here's how it was looking:

Chicago steamSource/For PhillyVoice

Water vapor rises from the Chicago River as the city hunkered down with temperatures Wednesday evening at minus 15 degrees.

Starbucks in the coldSource/For PhillyVoice

Famed for its snow removal, Chicago was nearly brought to its knees by record breaking cold temperatures. Businesses closed early as temperatures plunged to nearly 40 below zero with the wind chill

Winter dog walkingSource/For PhillyVoice

Ozzie, a two year old sheepadoodle, goes out for a walk with his owner, despite the frigid temperatures in Chicago Wednesday night. “Look at him,” the dog walker said as Ozzie romped over a snow bank. “He thrives in this.”

Paint crew in ChicagoSource/Courtesy of Liam McWilliams of Colossal Media

Liam McWilliams and his paint crew spent six hours a day out in the Chicago polar vortex to hand paint a wall for a travel advertisement. His employer, New York-based Colossal Media, told the crew “it was our discretion if we wanted to be out here but we wanted the challenge.” McWilliams, originally from Delaware and an Eagles fan, took this selfie after ice formed on his eyelashes.

Paint crew Source/For PhillyVoice

McWilliams and the rest of the paint crew were out early Wednesday and Thursday, during the brunt of the historic Arctic cold blast in Chicago, to prepare a building wall for a new hand painted advertisement.

Paint crew at workSource/Courtesy of Liam McWilliams of Colossal Media

The scene from the scaffold as the crew battled the Chicago polar vortex cold Wednesday and Thursday. At the time, it was around 19 degrees below zero with a windchill around 30 below.

McWilliamsSource/For PhillyVoice

Liam McWilliams takes a break in a Starbuck for coffee and warmth after spending the morning outside painting a brick wall. “You think it was colder yesterday?” he asks a co-worker. “The air is so sharp.”

Grim weatherSource/For PhillyVoice

Member of the Colossal Media paint crew getting ready to return to the grim Chicago weather.

01302019_polar_vortex_11David Joles/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

University of Minnesota student Daniel Dylla was frosted in the morning cold while pausing from a jog along the Mississippi River on Jan. 29, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minn.

01302019_polar_vortex_4Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

“They're going to call me 'wife of the frozen pants guy' in my obituary,” joked Karla Grotting on Jan. 29, 2019, when asked about her husband Tom's annual tradition of freezing clothing for their yard in Northeast Minneapolis, Minn. Tom even has a tutorial for how to make them on his instagram page @tomgrotting.

01302019_polar_vortex_2.jpgAaron Lavinsky/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

Pastor John Steger, with Grace In The City church, embraces Jearline Cyrus, a homeless woman, in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday night, Jan. 29, 2019, while delivering cold-weather gear, hot chocolate and food with Minneapolis police Sgt. Grant Snyder.

01302019_polar_vortex_5Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

Katie Benedict, a freshman at the University of Minnesota studying biology, fights against the wind as she walks on campus on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minn. Minnesotans layered up as temperatures and wind chills stayed well below 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

01302019_polar_vortex_6David Joles/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa

Water vapor rises above St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River as the Stone Arch Brige is obscured, seen from the Third Avenue Bridge on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, In Minneapolis, Minn.

01302019_polar_vortex_3Anthony Souffle/Minneapolis Star Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

Jillian Hansen, a senior at the University of Minnesota studying political science, walks on campus wrapped up in an oversized scarf as snow flurries floated in the air on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minn.

01302019_polar_vortex_1.jpgPhoto by Aaron Lavinsky/Minneapolis Star/Tribune/TNS/Sipa USA

Minneapolis police Sgt. Grant Snyder hands a cup of hot chocolate to Dawone Boclair outside the public library on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis as the temperatures dipped to -20 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday night, Jan. 29, 2019.

01302019_polar_vortex_9Keith Myers/Kansas City Star/TNS/Sipa USA

A piece of plastic clinging to a signpost was whipped in the air by strong winds on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019, at 47th Street and Broadway Boulevard on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo.