29+ Chilling Pictures of the Arctic Freeze That Struck North America


| LAST UPDATE 02/12/2023

By Daria Appleby

Mother Nature has the ability to change our world. In some areas, such as the United States, citizens are no strangers to blistering cold temperatures. But these storms caught on camera were more wild than fathomable.

A Personal Igloo

For those unsociable introverts, the cold weather might be their best friend. This snowstorm that hit a part of the U.S. was able to create a personal igloo, keeping them locked in from the outside world.

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u/help_theBear via Reddit

Unfortunately, these residents were completely locked indoors with no certainty on how long it would be until they saw the light again. Having an excuse for not leaving the house might seem attractive at first, but this terrifying moment sets the bar high for any weather warning.

Car Wash Wonderland

Despite Texas being a southern state, locals still tend to experience the occasional icy weather from time to time. Yet, when it does occur, these cold temperatures are taken to the extreme. For one man, he planned on spending his Saturday morning taking his car for a wash. But the weather had other plans.

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@guthrie.atx via Instagram

When he arrived at the carwash site, he couldn't believe his eyes. His plans had been canceled, as the entire car was covered from top to bottom in thick icicles. What looked like a soapy malfunction was actually an overload of snow and ice. Thankfully, no cars were stuck in the middle of it as the temperatures hit way below zero.

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Chicago Flames

Snowstorms are always unpredictable. But back in 2019, when public transportation faced severe dangers because of it, Chicago staff decided to spring into action. With extremely low temperatures stopping nearly all daily routines, these railway workers thought strategically.

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NBC News via YouTube

Temperatures hit as low as -6°F/-22°C. It was a bad week for citizens. So, employees wrapped up warm ready to set off into the freeze. NBC News reported the brave railway workers set fire to the train to "combat freezing temperatures." And we can't help but be mesmerized by that photo above.

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An Icy Commute

They say time is money, and for this employee on her way to work, she hoped her commitment to getting to the office would imply a slight raise. Nevertheless, these places and citizens were built for any weather disaster. This registered nurse ditched the scrubs and put on some more suited attire for her morning walk to work.

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@iplantpeople via Twitter

Although, it wasn't exactly a walk. Instead, this nurse got the ski gear out of the storage cupboard. While the skis themselves weren't included, she used a pair of ski goggles and poles and a pair of wellington boots to help her plow through the snow. Although bizarre, it was a very practical idea.

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Ice Skating Rink at Your Doorstep

While Seattle, Washington, is known for its dark and grey skies, the city hit a new low when the roads became completely iced over, and there was no way of driving around town. In that case, residents used it to their advantage. Well, at least this local did.

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@igorkosianets via TikTok

Ice was everywhere, and to lighten up the gloomy environment, one woman posted a TikTok clip of her using her personal ice-skating boots to glide along the roads. When she couldn't go to the rink, she brought the rink home. Considering it was too dangerous to drive, this was a nice transportation alternative.

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Winter Wonderland

Waking up to a scene like this is a dream and a nightmare. During the night, while everyone was fast asleep, these residents were unaware of the thick snow forming right outside their front door. In Buffalo, New York, the mighty downpour of slush formed a picturesque scene like never before.

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@SarhElizabeth34 via Twitter

With heavy snow, extreme winds, and icy temperatures, this lady was thankful to be home with her family and fiancee while snowed in. Being snowed in is never ideal or easy - but at least she wasn't alone. Although it might seem daunting, we hope they made the most of their time at home.

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Living Inside a Freezer

While being snowed in is unpleasant enough, this man couldn't even get past his front door. For citizens in Canada, temperatures can drop as low as −63.0 °C or −81.4 °. Residents learn how to walk around their houses with gloves and scarves on. Still, anything can take them by surprise.

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@aliciaos_ via TikTok

For this man, he had to capture the moment the icy Canadian temperatures got the best of him. In a TikTok video, he showed followers how his garage door was completely iced shut. Without being able even to turn the nob, viewers saw the icicles that were stuck to the door frame and handle. Shockingly enough, this is a norm for many.

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Dripping With Ice

While the brutal weathers are normally up north, South Central states are also massively affected by any weather warning. This family in Oklahoma was stunned to see the amount of damage caused by the icy temperatures. In a shared photo on social media, this family wanted to prove how they were living.

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@angelas_klever_k9s via Instagram

The temperature outside was so cold it was clearly affecting the water systems and anything else on the exterior. More specifically, the family publicized online that when they tried to turn on the tap for some water, it immediately froze and became long-stemmed icicles that formed in the sink and right before their eyes. Wow.

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Worst Blizzard in New York History

New York City is definitely known to steal major headlines when it comes to weather warnings. While New Yorkers have experienced at least 25 inches of snow multiple times, one storm stood out far from the rest. Not only was it the worst blizzard in history, but the aftermath was perhaps the real obstacle to overcome.

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u/Rachel53461 via Reddit

It was Christmas Day, 2022, in Buffalo. People wished for a white Christmas, yet this was far more than expected. With 70 mph winds, highways turned into snow mountains, and cars were becoming stuck on the side of the roads for days. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz described the blizzard as "the worst storm probably in our lifetime."

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Gone With the Wind

In most cases, residents prepare for a storm-filled season. When the wind is at high speeds, doors and windows should be closed and locked - the same goes for occasional downpours and, of course, a snow blizzard. However, sometimes the weather is far too strong for any structured household, and this local found out the hard way.

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@4KelseyAnderson via Twitter

This woman woke up in utter dismay to find that the strong winds during a snowstorm broke through her front door. The room was filled with snow as if someone had shoveled the slush indoors. The couches and pillows had been flattened due to the snowflake intake, and items had even moved across the room.

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Frosty the Snowman

When the news informs us to wrap up warm, they aren't telling us lightly. However, some people think they're invincible regarding the weather. No matter how hot or cold, there's always the attempt to bracing extreme weather conditions. For one guy in Canada, the chilling reality didn't seem to bother him.

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u/jaymesucks via Reddit

This moment captured by the Canadian stroller proves just how cold it really was. While his clothes were instantly covered in snow, his facial hair began to freeze over, showing his beard, eyelashes, and eyebrows painted white. We bet the local didn't expect to turn into frost on his casual morning stroll.

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From Montana to Miami

The United States includes 50 states - that means 50 separate weather forecasts for the foreseeable, and sometimes the difference proves just how far opposite ends of the country are and how big it truly is. For this weather forecast, the weatherman was highly intrigued by the differences in Montana and Miami on the same day.

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@MattDevittWINK via Twitter

Despite being a short 4-hour flight away, travelers would have definitely felt the difference. In the south, Miami was reported to *feel like* 80 degrees Fahrenheit, while Montana, in the northern hemisphere of the U.S., had windchills of -74 degrees Fahrenheit. The hectic difference was difficult to comprehend at the time.

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Frozen Laundry

Whether this family found it amusing or startling, the aftermath of the cold weather took them by surprise. After doing a whole load of laundry, this woman went about her day and left it outside to dry as usual. However, when she went to check on her clothes, they weren't exactly dry.

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@onmytodd via TikTok

Before she knew it, her entire laundry line had become frozen. Every item was left as stiff pieces of cloth. Whether the sweater arms were lifted or the jeans were folded, they had been left that way to dry. The clothes hadn't been dried, but more so turned out to be crisp and crunchy.

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Daunting Drifts

The storms that hit Buffalo have been widely shared among social media to show the extent of the alarming conditions. When winter hits in New York, it's a moment to highly prepare for - specifically when it's the worst people have seen in years, which can be frightening.

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@oldsman79 via Twitter

When the snow began to fall this past December, it was far from a light drizzle of snowflakes. Instead, it kept going while the winds caused snow from other directions to pile on top of each other. "Yes, that is a 10' drift. #Buffalo," this resident shared. As well, the slant proves snow was coming from both ends.

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Where's the Jeep?

Snow can have an increased effect by the hour. As more snow falls, depending on the temperature, it either turns to sludge or sets, piling inches of ice on top of one another. In Western New York, this homeowner caught the moment when his Jeep disappeared in just a few hours.

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@thej_dubs via Instagram

In 2014, New York experienced yet another winter wonderland. Yes, snow can be enjoyed lots of the time. However, when it starts to rise to a concerning height, things escalate quickly. This Jeep owner decided to capture a before and after moment just hours apart. The aftermath shows his high-rise car completely engulfed by snow.

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Highway to Nowhere

This was one of those more terrifying moments for residents. Another Buffalo moment was captured as the snow kept falling, and, ultimately, people started to panic. As shown in the picture, snow fell up to a level that completely covered the road, cars, and almost larger trucks.

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@KathrynHalberg via Twitter

In a scene where snow causes this much panic, an urgency for rescue is sought after. The snow had fallen to a reported total of 7 feet! The cars on the road had vanished - while the road itself was completely invisible. The woman who tweeted the chaos even reported her own brother had to be rescued from the highway along with many others.

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New York seems to be the main hotspot for severe snowy situations. Despite weather reports, no one truly knows how much snow is actually going to fall from the sky, as well as the duration of the downfall. That being said, these homeowners were distraught to see the damage caused by the weather conditions.

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@WBEN via Twitter

In 2014, a town in New York called Cheektowaga was struck majorly. WBEN NewsRadio station then tweeted a photo that was sent in by a listener at the time. The photo appears as shown, where the snowfall was so heavy and impactful that it broke through the doors and windows of a house. The scene was described as "frightful."

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Snow Blankets

It seems the Cheektowaga storm really caught people's attention. Whether this user woke up to what they thought was a dream or nightmare, the sight outside was something out of an animated film. Although, it is a mystery how much had been damaged by the downfall.

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@dynamodreams via Twitter

Despite the clear blue skies, this was a clear aftermath of the snowstorm. Thankfully, this would have helped melt the snow a little faster. Nevertheless, the image shows houses with complete white coverage, wrapped in ice. There was no doubt people could not see out their windows that day.

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The Steaming River

Moving towards the East Coast, the winds are far stronger, and the cold temperatures are sharper than usual. During the winter time, residents are not surprised by the temperature drop. However, one specific winter caused temperatures of -9 degrees and a windchill of -40 degrees - enough for a user to capture a startling moment.

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@MikeLoweReports via Twitter

This passer-by in Chicago, Illinois, seemed to be making his way to the office when he realized there was a suspicious steam exerting out of the Chicago River. It didn't take long to realize this was steam caused by the icy weather. Although it looks mesmerizing, residents would not have enjoyed being out and about.

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Seeing Double

From cars being swallowed by snow to houses turning into igloos, this next image is a prime example of what happens when the cold reaches a tipping point. This time, it was another example of how brutal Buffalo blizzards hit home. Unfortunately, there was no way of getting out of town.

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@EmersonBrianJ via Twitter

One user on Twitter had no choice but to report his sightings from his home. Despite the fact the door handle had not been frozen over, he opened the door only to be surprised by a snow-printed frame of the door itself. The snow had built up so high it had blocked the homeowner from leaving as a result of the drifting snow.

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The Frozen Fountain

With consistently cold temperatures, things do eventually freeze over. While this might be the odd car window or windshield that can be defrosted with a snow scooper, sometimes results are far more paramount. For example, while no one pulled the plug on this fountain, the cold beat any worker to it.

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@PastorJaimeG via Twitter

This image was captured in Texas, where the sun is usually shining. Still, Texans are never blindsided by a wild turn of weather events. Whether it be a tornado, hurricane, or thunderstorm, these temperatures hit a new low. The fountain water had stopped, while the water dripping off the bench had turned to sharp icicles.

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When in Doubt, Shovel It Out

People who live in the more gloomy, colder areas are usually equipped to deal with situations. For example, Florida homes are built specifically out of precaution for sporadic hurricanes, including shelters stocked with canned goods and necessities. For icier places, a shovel would come in handy - but there are alternatives.

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@underthemoonforever via TikTok

Unfortunately, sometimes our winter essentials are locked away at the worst times. In 2022, Seattle was hit with a severe ice storm which caused the grounds to become ice rinks and objects to become statues. One TikTok user decided to share their candid experience when they used a kitchen spatula to scoop the ice off the roads.

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All Roads Lead to 7-Eleven

In the midst of a weather storm, there are only a few things that could lift the mood of the situation. While some embrace moments indoors with family members, others might enjoy taking advantage of the snow-filled sensations outside their windows. However, there's always one place that we can count on during darker moments.

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@michelleostrander via Instagram

Yet again, the Buffalo snowstorm went viral after a dedicated snow path was created that led directly into the brightly lit 7-Eleven supermarket. Thankfully, their shelves were fully stocked with everything this user needed at the time. While all roads lead to home, this snowglobe pathway also got the job done.

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Digging to Freedom

While Buffalo set a high standard for worst-case scenarios, other areas, such as Lackawanna in Pennsylvania, are also not the safest place to go for a winter break. As 5-6 feet of snow piled on top of each other, this Twitter user was seemingly stuck inside his house and couldn't find an escape - that is, until he started digging.

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Bryan Nurmi via Facebook

A man named Bryan Nurmi went viral for his man-made tunnel, which he had no choice but to dig out due to the thick snow trapping him indoors. When asked about the situation, he explained it was "connecting the back of my driveway to the front door, its the only way to get to the garage. Driveway has at least 6 1/2 feet of snow on it."

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Out of The Antarctic

This shocking image displays the cold NY weather at its finest. Not only is the nearby lake chilled, but the water that had latched onto the home has frozen, causing a miraculous sight to be seen. Not to mention, the dark grey color is highly eerie.

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@ScottLevinTV via Twitter

"Yikes! My friends frozen home in Hoover Beach Hamburg, NY!!! He's fine… his house… is pretty cool!" news anchor Scott Levin shared. The color produced by the icicles is not as clear as water would naturally be. This might be due to the dirt from the water as well as leaves and dust from the ground, which gathered into gusts of wind.

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The Lake-Effect

Cold weathers and blistering storms are far too unpleasant. However, when the weather automates in a lake effect, things begin to become a little unsteady. A scene in Buffalo was caught on camera when a driver was making a "terrible commute" to work in the morning, only to be welcomed by a complete haze on the roads.

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@kyhenders via Instagram

A lake effect of snow is produced when a mass of cold air moves along warmer water conditions. The water vapor from the warm water is picked up and moves along the surface with the cold temperatures. That being said, a woman captured her journey just moments apart when she had to drive a slow and steady 15 mph.

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Just Another Snow-vember

The 2014 Buffalo blizzard was one of the worst snowstorms anyone had seen in years. The most outrageous moments were being caught on camera as a way to remember this haunting sight. While there have been many images taken from an on-the-ground point of view, a flyer was able to take a snapshot from above.

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@JamesAFry via Twitter

A Twitter user named James was landing in Buffalo around 11 pm when he saw an accumulation of clouds and lake-effect air cover the entire ground space of the New York region. "#snowmageddon14 #LakeEffect #beyondthewall," the captivated traveler wrote.

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That’s Not a Window

Thankfully, no matter the weather, people are willing to turn the mood around with some lighthearted humor. Whether they are stuck in the snow or snow is piled up against the frames of houses, this woman from Seattle found a moment quite humorous when the cold temperatures froze a window template against the car.

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@MarieSpiker via Twitter

A video that Marie Spiker uploaded to Twitter proved just how chilly it was. As we look at the car, it looks like the windows are rolled up. However, in a matter of seconds, the passenger in the car smashed his head lightly through the transparent layer to only prove that it was a screen of ice and not a window.

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The Worst Combination

Not only does the snow and chilly weather affect our moods and daily lives, but it's another element of having to witness the repercussions of it all. While the recent Buffalo blizzard contributed a large amount of ice and snow, the strong winds had a major impact on the town's assets.

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Jay Tyree via Facebook

A picture of a local gas station was leaked online, showing the harmful effects when wind, snow, and freezing temperatures combined. The gas station roof was pushed completely on its side, thankfully, with no human injuries. However, the sight of it was just as terrifying as acknowledging the amount of power from the storm.

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Deceitful Dots

Moving towards the northwest of America, Oregon is also prone to experiencing tricky weather conditions. While this certain occasion doesn't include hazardous haze and multiple inches of snow, the road effects were just as dangerous. The intention to leave the house was doable, but getting far was the issue.

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u/Popular_Emu1723 via Reddit

A photo was placed on Reddit by a user who took an image from what seemed like a window from her home, about two stories up. The road was covered in odd and sporadic dots. Although it seemed like an exciting and unusual sight, it was, in fact, covered in ice, making it far too dangerous to move any vehicle.

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