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Everything You Need to Know About the Polar Vortex and Exactly How Cold It Is Making the Midwest

Polar Vortex, Chicago JIM YOUNG/Reuters /Landov

Thanks a lot, Canada!!!

A "swirling pool of extremely cold air located tens of thousands of feet in the atmosphere" has escaped the Great White North and plunged the Midwest and parts of the East Coast and South into subzero temperatures. This is the Polar Vortex

And it suuuuuuuuuuuucks.

You're lucky to catch a flight out of anywhere. You're actually lucky because school is canceled and IT'S A SNOW DAY, Y'ALL! But with more than a foot of snow dumped on Chicago this week, along with temperatures reaching -10, -20, -30 around the Midwest, it is cold.

This is how cold it is.

NEWS: Here Are All the Different Ways You Can Handle a Snow Day

It is so cold...that bubbles are freezing in the air.

At -15 degrees, Chicago's public radio station WBEZ 91.5, "tested how quickly bubbles would freeze today," they explained on Facebook. "By the time this one hit the ground it actually started rolling."

It is so cold...that boiling water is freezing in the air.

Yeah, it's not just bubbles. Hot water—boiling water—is freezing in the air and turning to snow. Nature is a terrible, horrifying mystery! Meteorologist Eric Holthaus successfully demonstrated the phenomenon in -21 degrees weather in Wisconsin.

Meanwhile, everyone else who tried it just got burned.

Don't try this at home, kids. But if you do, make sure you upload the video:

TELL US: What's the weather like where you are? Is it freezing?

Anana, Lincoln Park Zoo Polar Bear Lincoln Park Zoo

It is so cold...that polar bears cannot even be outside.

POLAR BEARS, people. Bears who hail from the Arctic Circle! Where it is really, really cold! And they seem to like really, really cold weather! But it is so cold in Chicago that at least one polar bear was like, "Nope! Not for me! Get me the hell out of here!"

ABC News reports that Anana, the polar bear at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo was kept indoors this week (though Anana "doesn't have a thick layer of fat that [wild polar] bears typically get from eating things such as seals and whale carcasses.")

Polar Vortex Prisoner

It is so cold...that an escaped prisoners turned himself in to get out of the cold.

Robert Vick, 42, escaped Blackburn Correction Complex in Lexington, Ky. on Sunday wearing only his prison-issued khaki pants, a shirt and a jacket. What Vick did not factor in to his great escape was that it was minus 20 degrees

Vick went to a motel and told the clerk to call the police so that he could turn himself in and return to the Big House. Where it's warm (enough to plan his next escape attempt, tentatively scheduled for the summer months?).

Polar Vortex The Weather Channel

It is so cold...that it is actually the coldest it has been in forever.

The Polar Vortex is breaking temperature records. For most places, it is the coldest it has been in over 20 years—Illinois, Indiana, George, Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas and New York all posted record lows (via Fox News).

"The cold is the real killer here," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard warned. "In 10 minutes you could be dead without the proper clothes." So please be safe! Be warm! And know that it gets warmer: Temps are supposed to rise to the 20s by the end of the week. Which is still way too cold for us, but, hey. You're the one who decided to live in the Midwest.

PHOTOS: Check out these stars managing to look semi-glamorous in the snow!

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