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Hell Froze Over
January 23, 2013 9:20 AM   Subscribe

It's cold in Chicago right now. How cold? Water will freeze to the sides of a burning building.
posted by schmod (121 comments total) 35 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:23 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Holy crap.
posted by zarq at 9:24 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


As you can see in the pictures, it also makes snow art on firefighters.

Now, here's what I've been asking myself about firefighting:

Is it worse wearing heavily insulated bunker gear and being cold and wet regardless, or is it worse wearing heavily insulated bunker gear in the summer heat? You just can't win.

Pretty as they are, I'm constantly thankful that I'm in a rural area where there just aren't very many fires in the dead of winter.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:24 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Might want to put on a jacket.
posted by fight or flight at 9:25 AM on January 23, 2013


"Gotham City firefighters survey the damage from Mr. Freeze's late-night rampage. Commissioner Gordon seeks Batman for assistance."
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:25 AM on January 23, 2013 [46 favorites]


That fifth photo, where there is one building (no longer on fire) covered in ice between two others is really amazing.
posted by jeather at 9:26 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


That's one of the ones I had particularly in mind, jeather.
posted by Curious Artificer at 9:27 AM on January 23, 2013


Is fire gear not waterpoof? I'd have to imagine that it'd be fairly dangerous if water could permeate the suit, given the amount of steam and superheated water that one would expect to encounter in a burning building.
posted by schmod at 9:27 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy crap indeed.

See also post-apocalyptic Lake Shore Drive from a few winters ago.
posted by kmz at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


OTOH, it makes identifying hotspots for additional hose-down a bit easier, no ?
posted by k5.user at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Holy shit!
Cold temps or not, I think I need to make a detour on the way home tonight.
posted by phunniemee at 9:29 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Firefighters spray hot spots on an abandoned warehouse..." is my favorite caption.

When I was a kid, my family moved into a house that had a fire hydrant in the front yard that was being "tested." The hydrant was left open, spraying, for several months. This lasted most of the summertime and the water came out so cold that there was perpetual ice in our front yard, despite the fact that it was summertime in New England.

Cool post. (Ha.) I am heading to Chicago next month. Now I am not at all looking forward to it.
posted by cribcage at 9:31 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hope nobody was hurt.
posted by mareli at 9:31 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is how I will build my Fortress of Solitude.
posted by DU at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


What a beautiful brick building. :(
posted by xedrik at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


And people voluntarily live in this 'Chicago'?
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:33 AM on January 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


And people voluntarily live in this 'Chicago'?

Be not afraid of Chicago: some are born in Chicago, some achieve Chicago and some have Chicago thrust upon them.
posted by Celsius1414 at 9:35 AM on January 23, 2013 [52 favorites]


Wild. It took me a minute to realize what all the ice was from, actually.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 9:36 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And people voluntarily live in this 'Chicago'?

But, you see, it's perfect because in the summer it's like 106.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:36 AM on January 23, 2013 [54 favorites]


I predict this will be perfect fodder for some editorial cartoonist to disprove global warming.
posted by TedW at 9:37 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I swear, there are like three days in late September that are downright temperate!
posted by phunniemee at 9:37 AM on January 23, 2013 [7 favorites]


Take that, physics!
posted by MuffinMan at 9:37 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


And it's built on a swamp!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Last night, while the fire was still burning and they were still fighting it, the news reported that the combination of water and heat was causing a lake effect-like snow. I don't know about that but it totally fucked up the way the weather radar worked.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]



Is fire gear not waterpoof? I'd have to imagine that it'd be fairly dangerous if water could permeate the suit, given the amount of steam and superheated water that one would expect to encounter in a burning building.
posted by schmod at 9:27 AM on January 23 [+] [!]


It is to some extent. More so if worn properly. You have to make damn sure the balaclava is under the helmet and tucked into your collar, and that the pant hems are snug and low over the boots, etc. With full SCBA gear and everything there's really no exposed skin at all.

It's very good, but nothing is perfect, and as you can see in the pictures, it's seems to be almost inevitable that you'll end up on scene with your hands and face exposed at SOME point.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2013


I wonder if firefighters start adding antifreeze to their water supply at some point so that this doesn't happen in very, very cold weather?
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


in that first photo, you'd think this was just an ordinary looking outdoor shot of Chicago in winter, but it hasn't snowed here, at all. so that's all the fire dept..

And people voluntarily live in this 'Chicago'?

since unfortunately we are not able to choose the family we are born into (and their geographic location), usually you have to wait about 18 years to escape such places. i guess people do choose this place.. i'm still not sure why..
posted by ninjew at 9:38 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


And people voluntarily live in this 'Chicago'?

It's the Winnipeg of the South!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:39 AM on January 23, 2013 [14 favorites]


I swear, there are like three days in late September that are downright temperate!

Oh those three days in September and the few days in April or May seem so wonderful that you might even think it's a nice place to live. It's basically weather related Stockholm Syndrome, though.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:42 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Your blood thickens after a while. My Florida-born-and-raised husband rode his bike over to the pharmacy a couple days ago when it was 7*F out. And windy. Not even wearing a balaclava. His comment on return was, "It's a bit chilly, not so bad."

"i guess people do choose this place.. i'm still not sure why.."

Because it's the best place!

Old joke: A bunch of New Yorkers were standing around and said, "You know, I LOVE the crime, traffic, and pollution, but it just isn't cold enough here!" So they went west and founded Chicago.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:44 AM on January 23, 2013 [25 favorites]


Oh those three days in September and the few days in April or May seem so wonderful that you might even think it's a nice place to live.

Luckily, my ideal weather is bright and gray, completely devoid of direct sunlight, and within a temperature range of 37-64 degrees.

I'm not sure where ice palaces factor into that, though.
posted by phunniemee at 9:46 AM on January 23, 2013


Check out the frozen ice on the Portland (Maine) City Hall after the fire of 1908.
posted by Jubal Kessler at 9:49 AM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Pretty much anyone in Canada (Vancouverites excepted) has seen this sort of thing in the aftermath of a building fire in winter. It is strangely beautiful, but it should not be a surprise. Spraying a lot of water on a wall in subzero weather will obviously result in ice and the fact that it is partly on fire is not relevant (unless there is fire directly on the other side of the wall, and in that case the wall may collapse). Air is a pretty effective insulator: this is why you can stick your hand in the middle of a 400-degree oven and verify that it is on.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:51 AM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Chicago is actually an incredibly beautiful and fun place to live in the summertime - it's got New York City's cosmopolitan vibe, but without the attitude problem.

Fun fact, however: in wintertime, it turns out that Chicago is actually Cocytus, the ninth circle of hell - an icy wasteland designed to punish the damned.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 9:53 AM on January 23, 2013 [9 favorites]


Yep, pretty bitter up here in the midwest... but the first day of this zero-ish Fahrenheit cold I saw two bicyclists commuting on the roads when I went home.

As much as I bike during the spring and summer, I encourage people living under these frigid temperatures to take a bus or car pool. It's the next best near-term sustainable option, and you won't run the risk of exhausting yourself trying to transport yourself, heat yourself, and breathe.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:53 AM on January 23, 2013


And it's built on a swamp!

Literally, too!
posted by forgetful snow at 9:54 AM on January 23, 2013


It's not the cold that gets you in Chicago. It's the fire.
posted by srboisvert at 9:55 AM on January 23, 2013 [10 favorites]


Check This one from last year and this from yesterday.

Those aren't my pics, and that isn't my dad, but you gotta feel for these guys.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:55 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your blood thickens after a while. My Florida-born-and-raised husband rode his bike over to the pharmacy a couple days ago when it was 7*F out. And windy. Not even wearing a balaclava. His comment on return was, "It's a bit chilly, not so bad."

When I was living in Syracuse, I once went outside to have a cigarette, dressed in short sleeves and a light windbreaker. I found myself thinking, Man, it's warm out. I probably won't even need the windbreaker after noon. And then I looked over at the bank time-and-temperature display. It was 45 degrees. I've been living here too long.
posted by Etrigan at 9:56 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had considered moving to Chicago many years back... I've always loved the city, and it seemed like the weather was unseasonably great every time I went there - which was a minimum of 8 times a year.

Then I remember going there in Feb of 2001, where I finally got to experience the COLD that I had always heard about, that seemed mythical since I hadn't ever experienced it first hand.

I seem to remember hearing an advisory on the weather along the lines of "Do NOT walk on lakeshore drive, as you will probably die." I don't remember the exact wording, but I don't think I'm exaggerating either - It was repeated multiple times, and with the potential lethality of it brought up every time.

Shortly after, I had free entry to Lollapalooza, so I figured "why not" - This was one of those horribly hot and humid chicago summers I had heard about. I wasn't worried at first, because the Ohio Valley is a bit notorious for oppressively hot and humid summers. But Chicago had to one-up us - It was unbelievably miserable, and there was a CONSTANT stream of people being carried off by EMTs due to passing out and the like... You see some of that at shows, but this was seriously a non-stop thing - It seemed like there was more passed out bodies than there were people to cart them off.

I still love the city, and I still go constantly -- but every once in a while, I see something like this that makes me remember "Oh yeah, this is the city that Nature punishes personally."
posted by MysticMCJ at 9:56 AM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


Niagara falls on the Canadian side looks like this pretty much all winter.
posted by srboisvert at 9:57 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ya know, I live in northern MN and work on the shore of Lake Superior and it's worse than this. Worse! And I have no fucking clue why I live here. So there.
posted by stoneandstar at 9:57 AM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


My cut off for biking is 20 degrees, which it was Sunday when I headed out on errands. It was invigorating and fun to be out and about and made me rethink the temp cut-off. I've always liked that block of warehouses and thought about the possibilities of that big block of brick. Sad to see it go.
posted by readery at 9:58 AM on January 23, 2013


And people voluntarily live in this 'Chicago'?

Maxwell Street Polish
Alinea
Hot Doug's
Pork Chop Sandwich (watch out for the bone!)
Italian Beef
Chicago Style Dog

I mean, OK, so Chicagoans basically live cold short brutish lives filled with grease, but you say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by kmz at 9:59 AM on January 23, 2013 [21 favorites]


I expect I will end up moving to Chicago for work at some point in my life. I take comfort in the fact that at least my kids will know what snow is.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:59 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the record, it's about 15F/-9C in Chicago right now.
Those are some amazing pictures, although not really due to the coldness directly.

Admittedly I'm being smug because this morning when I walked to work it was -40/-40 without the windchill. We're going up to a high of -7.6/-22 today. And pretty regularly I bike 5k out to the cross-country ski lodge. It might even be warm enough to snow on the weekend!
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:00 AM on January 23, 2013


You could have a lot of fun doing this sort of thing on purpose, I think. Not the fire part, the enchanted ice palace part.
posted by Mister_A at 10:02 AM on January 23, 2013


And people voluntarily live in this 'Chicago'?

In the last decade I've lived in Chicago, DC and NYC.

Chicago summers are WAY better than both DC and NYC. Those places are the worst. Worse than Phoenix, where I grew up.

Sure, winter in Chicago sucks. However it's not 2x worse than NYC, but NYC's summer is twice as bad as Chicago's. DC winter is the mildest of the three but I thought it was the most inconvenient. And DC's summer is the worst thing ever.
posted by mullacc at 10:04 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I lived in Chicago for a while, but decided that while I really liked the sweltering humidity and lingering odor of slaughterhouses in summer, the winters just weren't cold enough. So I moved back to Toronto.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:06 AM on January 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


Mr. Roquette was born in Chicago. He spent some of his youth in the neighborhood of this warehouse. He watches WGN on his computer for news. He came and got me to see this fire. I showed him the ice-palace which resulted from the fire.
It's pretty amazing.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:07 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


My experience - 5 years in Chicago and 3 years in Philadelphia.

Winter is Chicago was not appreciably worse than winter in Philadelphia has been. Honestly, I think the whole thing is overblown.
posted by nolnacs at 10:07 AM on January 23, 2013


You think that is cold? Sheesh, Chicago isn't warm, but it isn't all that cold.
posted by Bovine Love at 10:08 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


NYC's summer

Summer is our worst season. And we don't even have Italian Beef. Italian Beef alone justifies Chicago's existence.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:08 AM on January 23, 2013


Oh, please. It's just winter. Human beings all over the goddamn world experience winter, many of them have much colder winters than Chicago. With more snow and probably even less sunshine. And in the U.S., most of us experience winter in our heated homes, heated offices, and heated fucking private automobiles. (also, I passed about a dozen cyclists on my bike commute yesterday. It wasn't windy, icy or snowy, so it was pretty much warmer than waiting for the bus)

I did see an interesting tweet about this fire this morning: "Almost had a complaint about work today. Then I watched a bunch of guys wielding a fire hose in -2 degree weather." These photos are arresting.

Sort of like the Lake yesterday, with breakers covered both in ice flows and steam.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:08 AM on January 23, 2013 [8 favorites]


My father was an Indianapolis firefighter. I have a photo of him at the scene of a winter fire, with an icicle hanging off his nose.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:09 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure if this link will work. You could see the fire on radar.
posted by gjc at 10:13 AM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


You do have Italian ice, though, Ad hominem.
posted by maryr at 10:13 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


In Chicago it ain't the cold, it's The Hawk...
posted by jim in austin at 10:14 AM on January 23, 2013


Human beings all over the goddamn world experience winter, many of them have much colder winters than Chicago.

And those human beings all over the world complain about winter or other weather-related phenomena, even when they do not objectively have the worst weather on this planet.
posted by jeather at 10:14 AM on January 23, 2013 [7 favorites]



And those human beings all over the world complain about winter or other weather-related phenomena, even when they do not objectively have the worst weather on this planet.
posted by jeather at 10:14 AM on January 23 [+] [!]


In short, people complain about the weather even when they're not in Winnipeg.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:16 AM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


See also post-apocalyptic Lake Shore Drive from a few winters ago.

That was after ample warning to stay of Lake Shore Drive, too.

I was going to ask if anyone remembered that time like 10 years ago when the Dan Ryan flooded. However, when googling for pictures, I find that the Dan Ryan has flooded a few more times since.
posted by hoyland at 10:17 AM on January 23, 2013


You do have Italian ice, though

lemonice.

Used to be every bakery had a window to sell Italian ice. When they opened the window to sell ice you knew it was summer. Kids would line up and order "lemonice", "lemonice", "lemonice" then "chocolate lemonice".
posted by Ad hominem at 10:22 AM on January 23, 2013


I mean, OK, so Chicagoans basically live cold short brutish lives filled with grease, but you say that like it's a bad thing.

As a British person, I just felt a sudden urge to move to Chicago, mixed with a certain sense of wistful longing.
posted by ArkhanJG at 10:23 AM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


mullacc: "DC winter is the mildest of the three but I thought it was the most inconvenient. And DC's summer is the worst thing ever."

The past two summers actually weren't that bad. We had a few terrible heat waves, but the rest of the time was surprisingly tolerable. I didn't need to change my shirt every time I got to work!

Our winter is kind of sucky though. We get a few random warm days throughout the season, which only serve to taunt you about how much nicer the spring/fall months are than Winter. Friday was one of those days, which is making this week's stupidly cold weather even more intolerable. Right now, DC's only a few degrees warmer than Chicago, so naturally my office seems to have the A/C running full-blast.
posted by schmod at 10:27 AM on January 23, 2013


Pretty much anyone in Canada (Vancouverites excepted) has seen this sort of thing in the aftermath of a building fire in winter.

Calgary, three years ago (scroll down for pictures).
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:28 AM on January 23, 2013


My 70-something folks grew up outside of Chicagoland in the 40s and 50s. My dad tells a story about how on sub-freezing days, the boys would get their hair wet and comb it and then see whose was the most frozen solid after walking to school. You'd tap on a kid's hair with your knuckles, and if it made a sound, that kid was really cool.
posted by mudpuppie at 10:32 AM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's the Winnipeg of the South!


You just totally made Minneapolis cry.


and then its face froze





but there are people here that will deliver scotch to your house here when the windchill is -35. They are the real heroes.
posted by louche mustachio at 10:35 AM on January 23, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh, please. It's just winter. Human beings all over the goddamn world experience winter, many of them have much colder winters than Chicago

And as Crush pointed out, it's just winter. I was waiting on the el platform yesterday morning and could see the temp at -2 at the bank, this has been a relatively mild winter. Anyway, I stood there thinking that for millenia people all over existed in these climes before indoor heating or socks. People had to have told mezmerizing stories around the fire to get thru winters like that.
posted by readery at 10:51 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think they prolly did a lot of babymaking.
posted by elizardbits at 10:54 AM on January 23, 2013


Huh, maybe there is something to the local canard that everyone wants to live in Vancouver. Rain, fog, and seagulls happening now, and the only ice around here is in my freezer.
posted by jokeefe at 10:55 AM on January 23, 2013


back in the day everybody had a gun and the cold got scared and didn't try anything
posted by angrycat at 10:59 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Lived in Chicagoland for 6 years. Gotta say, rail-based mass transit is a wonderful thing, and there were enough friendly natives and transplants my age that it was a decent time. On the other hand, traffic. And snow. And wind. Not fun in combination.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:05 AM on January 23, 2013


I bike winter in Chicago, Its great! I swath myself completely in layers and I never ever have to huddle at a bus stop for 20 minutes while my eyelashes ice up. I was out yesterday picking up some groceries, and was relatively comfortable the whole time, excepting my toes(It was a two pair of sock day, I should have known).
posted by velebita at 11:13 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


my primary complaint about this place is that it lacks any change in elevation or natural landscape features. it's just.. flat. and straight. if we had some mountains we could ride or something it would be AWESOME here.

winter can be beautiful.

chicago, not as much.

it's just so cold and gray, ack.

Your blood thickens after a while.

I, um.. I've heard this before. and indeed evolution of the human race seems to indicate that we adapt to our surroundings. i may be proof this doesn't work 100% of the time.
posted by ninjew at 11:13 AM on January 23, 2013


what's cooler than cool? ICE COLD!
posted by vespabelle at 11:19 AM on January 23, 2013 [4 favorites]


Has anyone linked to this video where the guy in -41 deg. Russia throws boiling water off his balcony?
posted by mannequito at 11:31 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


How does his skin not freeze up and wisp away with the water?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:37 AM on January 23, 2013


This also happened in Toronto in 2009.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:49 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Is fire gear not waterpoof?

What Stagger Lee said, plus - the turnout gear outer layer is abrasion/puncture/fire resistant material, usually some combination of Kevlar and Nomex followed by a moisture barrier (that's your waterproofing) followed by a thermal barrier of varying thickness. I fight fires in Houston (yes in the summer too) and anything that keeps heat out also keeps heat in. It's pretty damn miserable! I can't imagine being cold in bunker gear!
posted by Standeck at 11:55 AM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


How does his skin not freeze up and wisp away with the water?

Dark magicks and vodka.
posted by elizardbits at 11:55 AM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]



What Stagger Lee said, plus - the turnout gear outer layer is abrasion/puncture/fire resistant material, usually some combination of Kevlar and Nomex followed by a moisture barrier (that's your waterproofing) followed by a thermal barrier of varying thickness. I fight fires in Houston (yes in the summer too) and anything that keeps heat out also keeps heat in. It's pretty damn miserable! I can't imagine being cold in bunker gear!


Yeah, normally I'd agree. Stiflingly awful. But hey, it's effective.

Except that once you get down to that -40 range all it takes is an inch or two of exposed cheek or a couple seconds with your hand outside your glove. Things I wish I didn't know.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:22 PM on January 23, 2013


God I was just imagining what firefighting in a Houston summer must be like and I feel better about the cold already.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:36 PM on January 23, 2013


This happened in Bangor, Maine when the masonic lodge burned.
posted by UrbanEye at 12:45 PM on January 23, 2013


I like to joke a bit, but Toronto in winter can look pretty damn fine.

Of course, so can Chicago.

btw, is the title of this post a UofC call out?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:53 PM on January 23, 2013


What a "5-11 alarm fire" means for the Chicago Fire Department.
posted by Westringia F. at 12:54 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Maxwell's Bar caught fire in Minneapolis a couple of years back.
posted by mfu at 12:55 PM on January 23, 2013


What a "5-11 alarm fire" means for the Chicago Fire Department.

I love the fact that a 2-11 alarm fire throws in a bunch of extra chiefs and media affairs people, but by the time you get to a 5-11, it's just "4 Additional Engines."
posted by Etrigan at 1:02 PM on January 23, 2013


Late to thread, but...
Celsius 1414 almost got it right:
"Be not afraid of Chicago The University of Chicago: some are born in Chicago The University of Chicago, some achieve Chicago The University of Chicago and some have Chicago The University of Chicago thrust upon them."

FTFY

Class of '99! Woo!
posted by cyclotronboy at 1:14 PM on January 23, 2013


Global warming trends mean we've had a mild winter so far (except for the past few days) and a perfectly lovely summer. I love to brag as well about our midwestern toughness, but it ain't that bad lately. These days when my fellow Chicagoans complain about the weather, I tell 'em they're nuts.
posted by agregoli at 1:18 PM on January 23, 2013


Looks like a frosted cake.
posted by fiercecupcake at 1:20 PM on January 23, 2013


elizardbits, he would have thrown vodka out of the window, but he would have been shot by a barechested Putin.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 1:21 PM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


In short, people complain about the weather even when they're not in Winnipeg.

Weather would be the least of my complaints if I lived in Winnipeg.
posted by arcticseal at 1:23 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


For the record, it's about 15F/-9C in Chicago right now.

Up here in Dawson City, we call that a warm spell!

In all seriousness, I've been here not even three weeks, but already when I wake up and check the thermometer out the kitchen window and it's crept up past -20C, I think, ooh, a nice balmy day! I should go for a hike this afternoon! I mean, it was the coldest place on earth for a few days in December!

These are dubious bragging rights . . .
posted by gompa at 1:32 PM on January 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have a friend who grew up in Siberia. She's waxed nostalgic to me about walking to school in -60 and leaving behind human-sized tunnels in the ice fog.
posted by jokeefe at 2:21 PM on January 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


jokeefe, that sounds KICK ASS
posted by agregoli at 2:28 PM on January 23, 2013


leaving behind human-sized tunnels in the ice fog

BUCKET LIST.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 2:37 PM on January 23, 2013 [5 favorites]


I expected something dramatic, but that's just Chicago being Chicago, right there.
posted by davejay at 3:11 PM on January 23, 2013


4 words:

Chicago's cold.

Firefighters ROCK!
posted by BlueHorse at 3:23 PM on January 23, 2013


Yes it's cold in Chicago right now. But we've been having a really weird, warm winter and almost no snow. It was 65F on Thanksgiving, and prior to this week it's only been really cold a couple short times.

And our summer was insanely hot.

Also, I've been back and forth CHicago to NYC many times over for business. I find the weather to be pretty much the same, even the winter. Sure there's some degree differences in averages, but it's not really noticeable. Ah well, stereotypes die hard.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 3:24 PM on January 23, 2013


More photos of the amazing, icy aftermath.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:39 PM on January 23, 2013


heehee, truck with beard
posted by mannequito at 3:47 PM on January 23, 2013


You broken people running around bragging about how much cold you can handle are like engineers bragging about working 100 hour weeks.

I get to brag about living in a place where we get whiny about how cold it is when it's in the 50s and how hot it is when it's in the high 80s. Because that means I LIVE IN PARADISE. (A paradise with a lot of people poop on the sidewalks, but still paradise.)

So neener neener boo-boo to all y'all.
posted by aspo at 4:39 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


Be not afraid of Chicago: some are born in Chicago, some achieve Chicago and some have Chicago thrust upon them.

and some of us just live downwind from chicago - and that wonderful big lake - and all the snow that comes off of it and settles on our cars and everything we can see

(but really, this is our first week of REAL winter weather - and our winter weather is worse than chicago's)
posted by pyramid termite at 4:52 PM on January 23, 2013


The trick to dealing with winter in a city like Chicago (been here 6 years) is to grow up in North Dakota.

Chicago is mild in comparison! Ever feel a -40 wind chill before? They didn't even cancel school; ND is hardcore.
posted by Windigo at 4:55 PM on January 23, 2013


I get to brag about living in a place where we get whiny about how cold it is when it's in the 50s and how hot it is when it's in the high 80s. Because that means I LIVE IN PARADISE.

According to your profile, you live on Uranus.
posted by jokeefe at 6:08 PM on January 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


well, the colon is toasty warm
posted by angrycat at 6:14 PM on January 23, 2013


(A paradise with a lot of people poop on the sidewalks, but still paradise.)

According to your profile, you live on Uranus.

Well, Uranus does often contain people poop.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:36 PM on January 23, 2013


That sort of flatlander cold ain't diddly. For really cold misery, you need to be in a high-altitude sink. Like Jackson Hole. Or Peter Sinks. Because you can't get a good inversion without mountains surrounding you, trapping in the night's cold air. For week after week. Or if you're in Denver or Salt Lake City, you can get that inversion also trapping in a month or two's worth of air pollution before breaking. So again, week after week of 0F lows and never going above freezing combined with a smog you can taste and that kills. Good times, yo.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 6:55 PM on January 23, 2013


Oh I've seen far worse. I mean I've seen really really worse with my own eyes. There was a big fire in my hometown when I was a young kid. I looked at the weather records, it says it was -17F and I think those records might be conservative, I vaguely recall something like -25F. Several firemen were hospitalized for frostbite and hypothermia. The fire station still prominently displays photos of this event. I tried and was unable to locate free online photos, oh I wish you could see them, they were really dramatic. If anyone can get access to this newspaper archive on this date, that's the event. I might go to the library and scan their archived photos, because this deserves to be on the internet somewhere.
posted by charlie don't surf at 7:19 PM on January 23, 2013


I get to brag about living in a place where we get whiny about how cold it is when it's in the 50s and how hot it is when it's in the high 80s. Because that means I LIVE IN PARADISE. (A paradise with a lot of people poop on the sidewalks, but still paradise.)


Except when we brag about it, it's because we are honestly mystified how we survive. It's kind of a coping mechanism.

when you brag about living in PARADISE, that's more like rubbing it in our faces. Rubbing our faces in your sidewalk poop.

t(>,<t)


Now if you'll excuse me I have to put on every article of clothing I own so I can get to work. I hope i don't have to eat my sled dogs.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:18 PM on January 23, 2013


Those photos are absolutely gorgeous. In some of them it looks like someone covered a building in melted wax...so gothic and deliciously creepy. I feel a real respect and admiration for those firefighters.

Except when we brag about [cold weather], it's because we are honestly mystified how we survive. It's kind of a coping mechanism.

Very well put. I am sure I was obnoxious when I first moved from the temperate climes of Vancouver to Coldville, Northern BC because I kept going on and on about how it was -40 C in January, but honestly! Humans aren't meant to live anywhere that cold. I was just amazed I could survive a 10 minute walk outdoors at that point.

It doesn't get to -40 very often anymore where I live now, but it was -26 C (-15 F) the other week. I am a bit annoyed at myself because I forgot to try that trick where you throw boiling water in the air and it turns into snow. Oh well, next time!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:31 PM on January 23, 2013


It's supposed to get that cold in the Twin Cities metro area (-11 to -17 by around 6AM) if anyone wants to try it here.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:07 AM on January 24, 2013


(-23 to -27, for you Canadians playing along at home.)
posted by louche mustachio at 12:08 AM on January 24, 2013


Maxwell's Bar caught fire in Minneapolis a couple of years back.

2008 (FPP)

Your photos are gorgeous.
posted by louche mustachio at 12:19 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


Today is 7 degrees. Just thought I would share our local Chicago weather. Last week? 45 degrees. Go figure.
posted by stormpooper at 6:42 AM on January 24, 2013


Amazingly that fire restarted this morning.
posted by srboisvert at 7:25 AM on January 24, 2013


stormpooper, they're saying it will be in the 40s again by next week, too.. so, yeah.

more photos of the fire & ice from The Atlantic

the box truck-turned igloo in photo 12 is amazing
posted by ninjew at 8:46 AM on January 24, 2013


Yes, apparently the fire never went out. It's also getting warmer here... I wonder what will happen when all that ice starts to melt at once.
posted by Wulfhere at 9:32 AM on January 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


So wait, no one has died or been seriously injured as a result of this, correct? I need to know how superawesome I am allowed to find this palace of icy majesty.
posted by elizardbits at 10:19 AM on January 24, 2013


So the building was literally frozen and on fire at the same time?

Well played, nature.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 10:25 AM on January 24, 2013


Man, I was going to post this.

Looks funky under the sodium lights.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:19 PM on January 24, 2013


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