Phil & Mel In The Afternoon

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There’s cold and then there’s polar vortex cold. Just ask anyone who lives in the Midwest. They’re experiencing the lowest winter temperatures in a generation and it’s affecting everyday life.

One example of how extreme cold can be disruptive is happening in Chicago this week. Metra transit workers have been lighting the city’s railroad tracks on fire in order to ensure safe train travel.

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Rails can separate at their connections when frigid air causes the metal to shrink. The fires warm the metal until it expands and the rails can be reconnected. It looks even crazier than it sounds, but it works. See for yourself: