By Talia Avakian
Updated: February 01, 2019

The recent polar vortex has brought extremely cold temperatures to parts of the U.S., causing snow and intense winds in cities across the Midwest.

While the dangerously cold temperatures have brought with them transportation and travel disruptions, with people encouraged to stay indoors for safety, they've also created a majestic sight along Lake Michigan.

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The frigid temperatures are some of the coldest the Midwest has experienced in more than 20 years, according to The Weather Channel, and they’ve caused Lake Michigan to start freezing over.

Those in cities with views of the frozen lake have been posting images of the sight, and the parts of it that have begun turning into ice.

Photos can be seen from locations like Kenosha and Chicago, where temperatures felt as low as -51 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday and -18 degrees Fahrenheit Thursday thanks to the wind chill, according to the National Weather Service.

Videos also show smoke billowing over the lake, creating a fascinating and dramatic view.

The smoking effect, known as “sea smoke,” happens when cold air comes into contact with the layer of relatively warmer air that sits immediately above a body of water.

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Related: Watch Manhattan Disappear in Footage From Wednesday’s Wild Snow Squall

The clouds that rise like smoke from the water’s surface occur because the cold air can only hold so much moisture as the evaporating water beings to rise, eventually forcing the liquid to condense into fog, Catherine Schmitt, communications coordinator for the Maine Sea Grant College Program at the University of Maine explained several years back.

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As low temperatures continue, it remains essential to practice safety, as several deaths have already been linked to the freezing weather.

Those who happen to be traveling during this time will want to check with their airline, as hundreds of flights have been delayed or canceled.

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