Sunday 20 October 2019

Frozen pants challenge gives Americans light relief in polar vortex

Plunging temperatures mean wet clothing freezes in minutes in much of the US.

(Pamela Metcalf)
(Pamela Metcalf)

By Edd Dracott, Press Association

The US has seen temperatures plummet in recent weeks, but Americans have come up with a novel way to have some fun in the harsh conditions.

The frozen pants challenge sees wet clothes left out in the plummeting temperatures, lower than minus 30 degrees celsius in some areas, causing them to freeze solid.

A weather condition known as the polar vortex has brought freezing air south, driving temperatures sharply down across much of the US.

“You can either complain about ‘freezing your pants off’ or you can find the silver lining and laugh about it,” Pamela Metcalf, from Minnesota, told the Press Association.

Mrs Metcalf said she set up her families’ trousers in the snow give those driving by “a little something to smile about”, and claims the trouser-freezing tradition has been going for about six years.

(Pamela Metcalf)

“My whole family was laughing watching me try to form them while they were freezing solid outside,” said Mrs Metcalf. “Each pair froze completely in under 5 minutes!”

The quick-freezing garments have allowed some to dream up creative new sports.

Maple Grove, Minnesota, had windchill of negative 50 degrees celsius, so 10-year-old Piper Brinda gamely grabbed the opportunity for some fun.

Aside from hurling once-malleable pants, the pastime also allows people to make sculptures with their wearables.

In Minnesota, police uniforms and jeans were used to make intriguing winter scenes.

Meanwhile, in Chicago a colourful t-shirt swiftly became solid.

Twitter user @MireilleDelgado told the Press Association the cold was so extreme they couldn’t stay outside more than four minutes “because their skin would be frozen”.


The cold in the US has been so extreme that a police force in Missouri asked people to “keep criminalling to a minimum” while it continues.

So...we are asking a favor (at least for the next three days); can you keep the criminalling to a minimum? It is REALLY...

Posted by Warrensburg Police Department on Monday, January 28, 2019

At least eight deaths have been attributed to the weather, including an elderly man in Illinois who was found dead several hours after he fell while trying to get into his home.

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