It is difficult to understand temperatures below 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It is much, much colder than the normal temperature of the domestic freezer (which is around zero). At -20 ° F, vodka freezes and boiling water instantly turns into snow if it is projected into the air. Combined with the wind, this type of cold causes frostbite on exposed skin in just a few minutes. It's a temperature comparable to the weather on Mars.

It's life in the polar vortex, which descended from the Arctic to the US Midwest this week, bringing a record of cold and cold winds in the region.

Fargo, North Dakota, for example, experienced temperatures of minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday. The maximum of day is expected to be -7 degrees Celsius. Chicago also reached -20 ° F on Wednesday. It is currently -16 ° F in Milwaukee.

"It's the coldest air that many of us have ever known," warns the Des Moines office of the National Weather Service. The forecast continues: "It's not a case of" meh, it's Iowa in winter and this cold happens. "These are record cold temperatures, with Wind Chill values ​​that have not been observed in the 21st century in Iowa. "

To better understand what it's like to be so cold, we've scanned the photos and asked readers to submit images of what the 2019 polar vortex looks like. Do you have more photos to share? Send us an email at: brian@Good Medical, or tweet to @voxdotcom or @b_resnick.

Some of the photos we found are quite beautiful, such as that of a halo surrounding the early morning sun, outside of West Union, in Iowa. The halo is formed when the sun is refracted through ice crystals frozen in the atmosphere.

The ice forms on the shores of Lake Michigan before sunrise on January 30, 2019.Kiichiro Sato / Good Medical

Chicago Lake covered with ice.Teresa Crawford / Good Medical

Commuters face the wind and snow in cold weather in Cincinnati, Ohio on January 30, 2019.John Minchillo / Good Medical

A Vox reader in North Minneapolis, where it was -22 ° C on Wednesday, was creative in trying to seal his home in the image below.

Here is a picture of my thermometer right in front of my back door. For real. St Louis Park MN 1-30-19

The red mercury indicator is hidden behind a metal clasp at the -30F mark ….

the lack of red on it is the confession that makes it damned cold !!!

actual temperature -28 below F

– Millgrist (@ Millgrist1) January 30, 2019

Commuters pass a -18 ° thermometer in downtown Chicago, Illinois on January 30, 2019.Scott Olson / Getty Images

On January 29, 2019, Carman Diego Lopez inspects and works on wagons at the Metra Western Avenue yard in Chicago, Illinois .Kiichiro Sato / Good Medical

It was yesterday morning at -24. Today it's -27 with a -51 wind chill. Children follow a rotating program of checking wood burning stoves every 30 minutes. It's hard to breathe the first time you go out.

– Shane (@calimccammon) January 30, 2019

Ice is forming along the shore of Lake Michigan, in Chicago, Illinois on January 30, 2019.Kiichiro Sato / Good Medical