This was the first time, in a very long time, the United States has experienced weather this cold. Here are six things we learned from the polar vortex, according to NBC Chicago:
The big freeze resulting from an Arctic weather phenomenon known as the polar vortex has affected 187 million Americans — more than half the country's population. It was loosening its grip Wednesday, but was sure to leave a lasting mark.
Freezing temperatures hit all 50 states and 26 states recorded sub-zero temperatures due to the vortex, which scientists described as a moving pool of extremely cold air tens of thousands of feet in the earth’s atmosphere.
The record-shattering system pushed as far south as Georgia and Alabama and was blamed for at least 17 deaths, according to counts by NBC News and The Weather Channel.
Here’s what we’ve learned as a result of the rare chill:
The polar vortex exposed vulnerabilities in the U.S. economy -- and pipes everywhere
The vortex could cost up to $5 billion, NBC News reported. Why the huge price tag? Millions of Americans haven’t been able to travel to work, go shopping or vacation. Many may also have to pay more for their heating bill.