21 Pictures of America's Modern-Day Ice Age

By Attila Nagy on at

This week temperatures across the United States dipped to -26.7 degree Celsius on the heels of the frigid, dense air known as a polar vortex, which has swept across the Midwest and through a huge portion of the United States, with Chicago being particularly affected.

The freeze-wave brought dangerously cold temperatures, colder than any seen for 20 years, and transformed the Chicago shoreline along Lake Michigan into what looked like a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. Here's our photo collection, straight from the heart of the ice.

 

Mist rises from Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Firefighters help woman following minor train accident

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Onlooker observes the icy spectacle

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Commuter makes a sub-zero trek to the office

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Ice builds up along North Avenue Beach

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Public thermometer reads -24C

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Swimming is definitely not recommended

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

A Chicago flag bearing snowflakes instead of stars

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Hit by a polar air mass

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Commuters arrive at La Salle Street station

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP


 

Wind chills expected to reach 40 to 50 below

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Commuters cross the Chicago River

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Big chunks of ice along Lake Michigan

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Miniature ice skyscrapers

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

Man strides along the lake in freezing conditions

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

The frozen skyline

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images


 

The ice follows a heavy snowstorm a week before

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Teresa Crawford/AP


 

A blanket of fog covers Lake Michigan

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Teresa Crawford/AP


 

A Delta plane is de-iced at Chicago Midway Airport

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: Kiichiro Sato/AP


 

Large area of low pressure hitting US east coast

21 Pictures of Chicago's Modern-Day Ice Age

Photo: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Getty Images