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WATCH: What extreme winter weather from the polar vortex looks like around the world

Business Insider India logoBusiness Insider India 18-02-2021 Samara Abramson,Barbara Corbellini Duarte,Austin Meyer
a man sitting at a beach: WATCH: What extreme winter weather from the polar vortex looks like around the world © Reuters WATCH: What extreme winter weather from the polar vortex looks like around the world
  • From Texas to the Netherlands to the Middle East, a deadly polar vortex caused record-breaking weather across the Northern Hemisphere
  • While many struggled to survive the cold, others took advantage of the subzero temperatures.
  • Some saw the snow as a good distraction from pandemic restrictions.

From the Netherlands to Estonia to Texas, a deadly polar vortex caused record-breaking weather across the northern hemisphere.

While many struggled to survive the cold, others took advantage of the subzero temperatures. Wim Hof, an extreme athlete nicknamed "Iceman," jumped feet first into the frozen Netherlands canals.

"To learn to control deep stress mechanisms in the body," Hof said. "And to boost the immune system."

The extreme athlete practices what he calls cold therapy, which he says helps you "learn to control deep stress mechanisms in the body" and boost your immune system.

"This is because I do exercises," he said. "Exercising the blood flow. You become flexible."

In Amsterdam, swimmers took the polar plunge.

"I think it was harder than an ice bath," said Jordi Brouwer, who was a first-time cold-water swimmer. "But it was nice."

In Estonia, a grandfather carved an ice carousel on the Baltic Sea. He wanted to get his grandchildren away from screens. Now, the carousel has become a local attraction and the stage for a ballet school performance.

All over the world, people are finding ways to have fun in the snow.

a man sitting at a beach © Reuters

A father in Latvia built a bobsled in his yard, using old water pipes as the runners, for his children. It took him six years to complete. The ride lasts almost an entire minute and goes as fast as 18 mph.

In Texas, people were less prepared as record-breaking snow changed the landscape.

Rolling blackouts across the state have left millions without power, heat or water. At least 21 people have died. Local wildlife almost never deal with freezing temperatures. Rescuers found turtles "stunned" by the cold, and now they're being warmed up at a convention center on South Padre Island.

Greece experienced its heaviest snowfall in 12 years, and tens of thousands of people lost power.

Jordan hadn't seen such intense cold in about six years, but turned into a winter wonderland. People took to the streets to play and build snowmen.

Some saw it as a good distraction from the pandemic.

"Of course the coronavirus affected everyone," said Motaz Al Shami. "But when we heard there is snow, it made me really happy, especially when seeing Amman covered in snow. I came outside to play in the snow and have a good time."

Across the border, in Jerusalem, people awoke to see their holy sites blanketed in snow. Before dawn, children engaged in snowball fights with each other outside the Old City gates.

It was a similar scene in the West Bank, which hadn't seen snow since 2015.

In Turkey, people went sledding. It was a respite from COVID-19 restrictions.

"[The effects of] climate change have been seen for a long time now," said one man who went sledding. "At the same time, we were really bored being at home because of the pandemic, so we have decided to find a slope and sled with my friends."

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