The arrival of a polar vortex in the US seems to have led to Americans losing their common sense.
Whenever temperatures reach sub-zero, social media becomes filled with videos of people attempting a trick with boiling water.
If done correctly, a person will throw boiling water up into the air which blossoms into a white cloud when it hits the freezing temperatures.
While it appears the water has turned instantly into snow, it has actually rapidly evaporated into steam.
It then condenses quickly becoming droplets of water, before freezing into a solid state.
The successful videos really can be quite incredible.
However, since you are working with boiling water the challenge can go very wrong, very quickly if it isn’t successful.
Which is exactly what Chris Kieger found out when he decided to attempt the trick wearing only short shorts and flip flops.
Why Chris? Why?
In a video uploaded to YouTube, Chris can be seen throwing boiling water up into the air over his head.
Unfortunately for Chris, there was some boiling water left in the pan when he dropped it down by his legs.
Accidently burning himself, Chris’ leg quickly comes up, the smile disappears from his face, and he drops the pan completely in reaction to the pain.
Check it out here:
Chris captioned the video ‘the air was cold, my calf was scalding’, which I feel appropriately sums up the footage.
Uploaded two days ago (January 30), the video has received, at time of writing (February 1), over 208,000 views.
Of course the majority of the comments ask the question ‘what did you think would happen?’, which is reasonable.
The freezing temperatures are also causing issues for trains, as snow and ice can clog switch points on railway tracks, which brings everything to a halt.
Metra, which operates the commuter railroads in the Chicago metropolitan area, have being using fire to fight the issue, setting railway tracks alight to keep trains moving.
While it appears the tracks themselves are on fire in a Back To The Future kind of way, the flames are actually adjacent to the rails.
— Metra (@Metra) January 30, 2019
Metra stated at ‘A-2’, Chicago’s busiest interlocking, blocked switch points can seriously disrupt people’s commutes, so they installed a gas-fed system which heats up the the ties.
Explaining how it works, Metra said:
Some riders may have seen the open flames licking the rails at the A-2 interlocking. Despite popular belief, the tracks themselves are not on fire.
Instead, the flames come from a gas-fed system that runs adjacent to the rail, generating heat on the critical areas where the switches are supposed to make contact.
Without that contact, the switches default to ‘fail-safe’ mode, which means any trains that need to pass through the interlocking will have to wait until the switches make contact with the rail and complete an electric circuit. Until then, train movement is halted.
The heaters help keep the switches clear (although sometimes the snow and ice falls too fast or falls from the underside of a passing train and the switches need to be cleared manually with brooms, shovels or picks).
Alongside the gas-fed heaters, Metra also used electric calrod tubular heaters, and hot air blowers, which use a combination of gas and electricity.
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Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.