You know it’s cold when even the polar bears don’t go outside.
That’s what happened Monday at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo, where Anana, the city’s resident polar bear, was kept indoors because of record cold temperatures, The Associated Press reported
. With lows dropping to 16 degrees below zero on Monday, Anana was kept inside because she doesn’t have the thick layer of fat that her kind typically get from feeding on seals and whale carcasses in the wild.
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Anana spent the day indoors, where the temperature is kept at 40 to 50 degrees.
The temperature at O’Hare airport hit 16 degrees below zero as late as 7 a.m. on Monday, breaking the record low for the date by one degree, according to the Chicago Weather Center. With the wind chill, though, the temperature felt like 42 degrees below zero.
With a noontime temperature of 14 degrees below zero on Monday, Chicago was colder than Nord, Greenland, Bratsk, Russia, and the South Pole, according to the Chicago Tribune
. Making matters worse, the record cold came after a weekend storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in the area.
On the bright side, Monday’s lows didn’t come close to breaking the city’s record low for any day, recorded at 27 below zero on Jan. 20, 1985. Temperatures were expected to reach an almost balmy 5 degrees on Tuesday and a relatively sweltering 38 degrees this weekend.
The record cold over much of the country was caused by a "polar vortex" coming from the Arctic. A polar vortex is a large cyclone near one or both of the geographical poles, and are low-pressure areas that strengthen in the winter, according to NASA Research.
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