#Chiberia: Winter's icy grip tightens on Chicago as temperatures plunge well below zero

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Chicago's 60 Second Forecast

By RYAN GORMAN

The arctic air mass sitting over America's second-largest city has set Twitter ablaze even as residents are shivering in single digit temperatures.

The so-called polar vortex that descended on Chicago this week has sent temperatures crashing below zero at night, with wind chills approaching 30-below, and led Chicagoans to compare the windy city to Siberia.

A search on Twitter for the #Chiberia hashtag revealed pictures of a frozen Lake Michigan, near white-out conditions during a Thursday afternoon snow squall and also of ice accumulating against a coffee shop window -- on the inside.

Temperatures reached only the single digits on Thursday, but wind chills still made it feel like 25-below, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The dangerous cold caused hundreds of school districts to cancel classes for the fourth straight day.

30 PHOTOS
Chiberia
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#Chiberia: Winter's icy grip tightens on Chicago as temperatures plunge well below zero
Flying into O'Hare #chiberia #polarvortex http://t.co/GDre8tLrEY
Hand warmers anyone? What a great photo of #Chiberia at -30 good morning Chitown :) @cbschicago http://t.co/Du5G5YbjVH
You know it's cold when the ice dam is inside the window at the coffee shop! #chiberia http://t.co/FJAigLXzaW
Today was legit cold @FleetFeetChgo @CARARuns @chicagorunning #Chiberia #Chiberia2015 http://t.co/fQK854WXrI
Yup -1 this morning. Winter is officially here. #Chiberia brrr http://t.co/uCTaawyZb6
Currently in #Chiberia http://t.co/VZ2S0C2ky8
Took a stroll around Wrigley Field. Now I can't feel my face. #Chiberia http://t.co/hFuXbiJ1pb
0 as high, -12 low *shivers* MT @Chicago_History: Snowing in #Chicago today, 0 by Wednesday. @artiequitter #Chiberia http://t.co/A6a5Ggif2m
Leave the drink, save your self! #Chiberia #chicago #NewYearsDay #BRRRR http://t.co/FjBe762dXt
Ya comenzó a nevar en el centro de #Chiberia. Precaución si se encuentra manejando la visibilidad es muy poca. http://t.co/zS4HQe7U7w
Frozen Chicago and partially frozen Lake Michigan just after taking off from Midway. @ChiPhotoGuy @Skilling #Chiberia http://t.co/ZQEsqJYQCP
Iceberg! Right ahead! Rose! Jack! Rose! Jack! #ChiBeria #bikeCHI http://t.co/l5vKYCxdSJ
Lake Michigan's Cool Sunrise @ChooseChicago @enjoyillinois @OdysseyChicago @chicagoyc @chisail @NWSChicago #chicago http://t.co/FjmYO7dr55
Thursday's Sunrise along Chicago's lakeshore @ChooseChicago @OdysseyChicago @GreatLakesBook @NWSChicago @TammieSouza http://t.co/AnqsGyIiUb
Thursdays Smokin Chicago Sunrise @ChooseChicago @DNAinfoCHI @NWSChicago @JimCantore @enjoyillinois @yourtake #winter http://t.co/Vhoz7gbS6J
Wednesday In The Winter Windy City @ChooseChicago @NWSChicago @DNAinfoCHI @JimCantore #Chicago #winter @NBCAndyAvalos http://t.co/KEL8pCV1a8
Chiberia v2 #Chicago @BuzzFeedStorm @HuffPostChicago #winter @NBCAndyAvalos http://t.co/gXBIrRKrxS
Monday Morning in Chiberia #Chicago @HuffPostChicago @OdysseyChicago #winter @NBCStormTeam5 #winter #weather http://t.co/ZFbfBnz48m
The Cloud Gate (aka The Bean) sculpture at Millennium Park looks really cold. #Chiberia #AnishKapoor http://t.co/VFT0qLmJjE
@FleetFeetChgo Icicles on my brow and eyelashes, but otherwise great frigid run this morning. #runchi #Chiberia http://t.co/7NpXVXfHRP
Steam rises over Lake Michigan near the Chicago skyline, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. Dangerously cold air has sent temperatures plummeting into the single digits around the U.S., with wind chills driving them even lower. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)
A METRA commuter train pulls out of the La Salle Street Station headed southbound in a light blowing snow Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, in Chicago. Dangerously cold air has sent temperatures into the single digits across much of the country, with wind chills driving them even lower. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
An aerial photo shows Lake Michigan on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, in Chicago. Dangerously cold air has sent temperatures plummeting into the single digits around the U.S., with wind chills driving them even lower. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
This aerial photo shows the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan on Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015, in Chicago. Dangerously cold air has sent temperatures plummeting into the single digits around the U.S., with wind chills driving them even lower. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Ice forms along the Lake Michigan shore, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in Chicago. Subzero temperatures and high winds are expected in the area. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Ice forms along the Lake Michigan shore, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, in Chicago. Subzero temperatures and high winds are expected in the area. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 07: Ice builds up along North Avenue Pier while temperatures hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit on January 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Most of the city's schools were cancelled today as wind chill temperatures were expected to exceed -30. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 07: Ice builds up along North Avenue Pier while temperatures hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit on January 7, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Most of the city's schools were cancelled today as wind chill temperatures were expected to exceed -30. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 05: Commuters cross the Chicago River on their way to work as temperatures hovered around zero degrees Fahrenheit during the morning rush on January 5, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Temperatures are expected to remain in the single digits today and three to six inches of snow are expected to fall this evening. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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Striking images from earlier in the week showed steam rising off Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. Ice flows have since begun to freeze over in more shallow depths.

West Chicago took home the bacon Thursday with a low temperature of minus 11, several neighboring towns dropped to minus 10.

Temperatures earlier in the day at O'Hare International Airport hit minus 8, which somehow was not a record low. That honor goes to the minus 11 felt on this date in 1942.

The polar air mass responsible for the bitter cold originated last week at the North Pole and quickly moved south, according to NOAA.



The cold air has been slowly moving east and resulted in a low temperature Thursday morning of minus-38 degrees in Estcourt Station, the northernmost town in Maine.

Adding to the misery, three inches of powdery snow expected Thursday is causing problems with Metra commuter rail trains, the agency said.

The Red Line, part of the city's famed El-train network, was also snarled when doors were unable to close after freezing open, according to the CTA.

Friday is expected to be similar, with highs only into the low single digits, but Chicagoland should begin to thaw out by next week, according to forecasters

Temperatures should claw their way back into the mid-30s by Monday.
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