Published Wednesday, 08 January 2014
The Gates of Hell freeze over ... in Michigan, USA. (© Hell/Facebook)
That would be the tiny town of Hell in the US state of Michigan, which is just one of many places gripped by arctic temperatures well below freezing.
An estimated 190 million people have been affected by the big chill, which has been shattering weather records like icicles.
In Chicago, Illinois, the mercury plummeted overnight to at least -24C, while 'highs' in New York City are expected to reach about -12C and maybe -8C in Boston, Massachusetts.
Even in the Deep South, temperatures fell to -14C in Birmingham, Alabama, for example.
On Tuesday, all 50 states recorded freezing temperatures at one point - even Hawaii, where the temperature on top of the dormant Mauna Kea volcano struggled to reach -8C.
The bitterly cold weather has turned deadly and 21 lives have already been lost.
People are reporting that in areas where temperatures are particularly low, it is painful to breathe after more than a few minutes outside.
A number of homeless people are among those to have been killed by the cold, but others collapsed while shovelling snow.
Travel has been hit hard, with tens of thousands of flights cancelled or delayed and people warned to avoid using their cars on treacherous roads if at all possible.
Some areas, including Indianapolis in Indiana, even made driving illegal except in absolute emergencies.
The icy blast has been caused by a 'kink' in the strong winds surrounding the North Pole, known as the polar vortex.
Conditions are expected to ease over the next couple of days, bringing temperatures at least back to freezing point or thereabouts.
© UTV News
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