According to Twitter, a Polar Vortex is “a portal that opens in winter and penguins pour out.” In any case, an enormous stretch of North America has been feeling a lot like Antarctica with face-freezing, ice-encasing, colder-than-normal weather.

That hasn’t stopped a number of intrepid photographers from capturing the frigid conditions on Instagram (we can only assume they have those smart gloves you can keep on your hands while using a touchscreen).

From South Carolina to Ontario, we look at some of the, er, coolest shots of the cold snap.


polar vortex toronto

Photo: topher_gregg/Instagram

Toronto harbour at -24 C.

Chicago Polar

Photo: palatinefd/Instagram

Icy Chicago as seen from the air.

NYC polar vortex

Photo: mhhere/Instagram

A young New Yorker embraces winter.

Chiberia Polar

Photo: jmanley72/Instagram

No wonder so many people were using the #Chiberia tag.

Lake Ontario Toronto

Photo: averypascoe/Instagram

Lake Ontario looks like a tidal wave frozen mid-surge over the west end of Toronto.

Charleston Polar Vortex

Photo: collegeofcharleston/Instagram

A frozen fountain and Spanish moss in Charleston, South Carolina.

Chicago Polar

Photo: stylesbydave/Instagram

Chicago had a very dedicated group of Instagrammers and it’s easy to see why.

Cleveland Polar Vortex

Photo: cierrasvoytek/Instagram

A cold, cold Cleveland.

Paterson NJ polar vortex

Photo: jparkerphoto/Instagram

Frozen falls in Paterson, New Jersey.

Toronto Polar Vortex

Photo: BuzzBuzzHome/Instagram

Icicles hanging off the umbrellas at a very frigid Sugar Beach in Toronto.

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