Think Antarctica Is Cold? Try America

Inhospitable, barren, and covered in snow and ice year round, the North and South Pole epitomize frigid conditions. Yet it's currently colder across the United States than at both poles.

The South Pole is the coldest place on Earth -- just take a look at the most recent images from the webcam at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, which captures a new picture of those freezing conditions every 15 minutes. But at present, it's merely -12 Fahrenheit.

The North Pole is normally significantly warmer than the South, but it's a chilly -17 up there right now, a temperature that must sound positively Caribbean to anyone living in, say, Bismarck, North Dakota (-33 Fahrenheit at present).

Wind chills across the United States are bringing our sub-freezing temperatures as low as 50 degrees below zero, making large swaths of the country substantially colder than either pole.

It's colder from Dallas to Denver than it is at the South pole. North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa are recording temps ranging from 5 down to -18; With the wind chill, it feels -17 F in Topeka, Kansas. Even Memphis sits at 10 degrees, and around 0 with the wind chill. Temps at Sun Studios shouldn't feel like the South Pole.

The National Weather Service continually monitors weather conditions at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, where it's currently -7 Fahrenheit. The mean temperature last year at Antarctica's South Pole was -54 Fahrenheit. The highest temperature ever recorded at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station was 7.5 F on Dec. 27, 1978, while the lowest was −117 F on Jun. 23, 1982. Brrr!

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration operates a North Pole webcam, deployed on an ice floe at the Pole. NOAA shuts down the cam over the winter due to the winter darkness, which lasts from October to March. In the dark of winter today, it's currently -17.

Brace yourself for a cold and blustery winter here at home ... or maybe pay a visit to balmy Antarctica.