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Icy Days and Nights

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The first week of 2014 has brought frigid conditions to much of the Northern Hemisphere, including a phenomenon called a polar vortex, which pulled Arctic weather deep into Canada and the U.S. In Harbin, China, the chilly temperatures have one advantage: They come at a perfect time for the annual Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Collected here are recent images of the frozen north. [34 photos]

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Tourists visit the ice buildings on display at the Grand Ice and Snow World during the 30th Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival on January 5, 2014 in Harbin, China. This year's Ice and Snow World features the theme "Global Ice and Snow Dream, World Cartoon Tour". Photographed with a variable plane lens. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Tourists visit the ice buildings on display at the Grand Ice and Snow World during the 30th Harbin International Ice & Snow Sculpture Festival on January 5, 2014 in Harbin, China. This year's Ice and Snow World features the theme "Global Ice and Snow Dream, World Cartoon Tour". Photographed with a variable plane lens. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Ice builds up along Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach as temperatures dipped well below zero on January 6, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago hit a record low of -16 degree Fahrenheit (-27C) this morning as a polar air mass brought the coldest temperatures in about two decades into the city. (Scott Olson/Getty Images) #
Fierce winds blow snow as snowboarder Garrett Ramos, 20, uses a shovel to build a jump in Portland, Maine, on January 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty) #
Ice encrusted pine cones are seen in Earl Bales Park following an ice storm in Toronto, on December 23, 2013. (Reuters/Gary Hershorn) #
Ice from breaking waves coats a house along the shore in Scituate, Massachusetts, on January 3, 2014. A winter storm slammed into the U.S. Northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 2 feet (60 centimeters) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer) #
U.S. Postal Service letter carrier Jamie Jasmon struggles through snow and below zero temperatures while delivering the mail in Springfield, Illinois, on January 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman) #
The frozen Hudson River in Kingston, New York, on January 5, 2014. Original here. (CC BY Anthony Qunitano) #
Dimmed lights are switched on in igloos on top of Nebelhorn mountain, alpine upland, near the southern Bavarian town of Oberstdorf, on December 30, 2013. The village of 11 igloos, including a bar igloo, a dining area igloo and an outside whirlpool with 40 degree hot water, is open during the winter months until April. One night costs 114 euros per person, with breakfast and cheese fondue inclusive. (Reuters/Michaela Rehle) #
People enjoy cheese fondue in the dining area igloo on top of Nebelhorn mountain, near Oberstdorf, Germany, on December 30, 2013. (Reuters/Michaela Rehle) #
People enjoy a whirlpool next to their igloo lodges on top of Nebelhorn mountain, near Oberstdorf, Germany, on December 30, 2013. (Reuters/Michaela Rehle) #
This Friday, January 3, 2014 satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows the blanket of snow that stretched from the Midwest across to New England after a massive winter storm moved over the region. (AP Photo/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) #
Snowmen sit in front of the Capitol in Washington D.C., on January 3, 2014, after a winter snow storm in the nation's capital. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) #
A light dusting of snow from an overnight storm covers the statutes at the Korean War Memorial in Washington D.C., early Friday morning, January 3, 2014. (AP Photo/J. David Ake) #
Nicholas Simmons, 20, of Greece, New York, warms himself on a steam grate with three homeless men by the Federal Trade Commission, just blocks from the Capitol, during frigid temperatures in Washington, D.C., on January 4, 2014. On New Year's Day, Simmons disappeared from his parents' house in a small upstate New York town, leaving behind his wallet, cellphone and everything else. Four days later, an Associated Press photographer, looking for a way to illustrate unusually cold weather, took his picture as he warmed himself on a steam grate a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. His parents Paul and Michelle Simmons saw the photograph in USA Today Sunday morning after it was brought to their attention through a Facebook page set up to help find their son, according to police and family friends. They were able to report his location to D.C. police who transported Nick to a hospital where he was reunited with his father and brother who drove all day to find him. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)) #
A mailbox and bench are covered with ice near a building which caught on fire, and was doused by firefighters in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, on January 3, 2014. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) #
A person struggles to cross a street in blowing and falling snow in St. Louis, on January 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) #
A man rides his ice bike during a festival where members of the Chinese Mongolian ethnic group catch fish using a centuries old technique of placing a net under ice in minus 22 degree Celsius temperatures to catch carp and other edible fish at Chagan Lake in Jilin Province, on December 28, 2013. The first fish from the winter catch is considered auspicious and fetched 288,888.88 Chinese yuan (approximately 47,000 USD). Chagan Lake is the only area in China which uses the traditional Mongolian ice fishing method that sees world record hauls for net fishing according to the local government. (Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images) #
Farmer Randy Cree chops a hole in the ice while a cow waits to drink water from a pond near Big Springs, Kansas, on January 6, 2014. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner) #
A woman makes a snow angel in the middle of Times Square in New York, on January 3, 2014. (Reuters/Carlo Allegri) #
A tourist catches snowflakes on her tongue during snowfall in Times Square, Midtown, New York, on January 2, 2014. (Reuters/Darren Ornitz) #
Aidan Morton and Monica Margolis play in the snow on the Brooklyn Bridge during a snowstorm in New York, on January 3, 2014. (AP Photo/John Minchillo) #
People take part in ice fishing on a frozen river in Hwacheon, northeast of Seoul, South Korea, on January 4, 2014. The annual ice festival expects to see more than 1,000,000 people attend. (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji) #
A girl casts a line through a hole created in the surface of the frozen Hwacheon River during a trout catching contest in Hwacheon, South Korea, on January 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) #
A child displays a fish caught through a hole into a frozen river during an ice fishing competition at the Hwacheon Sancheoneo Ice Festival, on January 4, 2014. Participants can compete with tradition lures or with bare hands. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images) #
Workers pull a giant ice cube out of the frozen Songhua River as they extract ice to make sculptures for the 30th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China, on December 27, 2013. Each ice cube weighs about 250 kilograms (551 lb). According to the festival organizers, nearly 10,000 workers were employed to build the ice and snow sculptures, which require about 180,000 square meters of ice and 150,000 square meters of snow. (Reuters/Sheng Li) #
A woman rides an ice slide on a large snow sculpture in Harbin, on January 4, 2014. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #
A woman poses for a picture in front of a large snow sculpture ahead of the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival on January 4, 2014. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #
A vendor sits on his toy tank waiting for customers on the frozen Songhua river, at an ice park in conjunction with the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, on January 4, 2014. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images) #
A woman poses with a white fox during the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, on January 5, 2014. The fox has been raised by men as a pet and it costs 20 RMB ($3) to pose with it. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #
Tourists visit a large snow sculpture at the Harbin International Snow Sculpture Art Expo in Sun Island park, on January 6, 2014. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
Tourists visit the ice buildings on display at the Grand Ice and Snow World in Harbin, on January 5, 2014. (Lintao Zhang/Getty Images) #
A waitress pours liquor into ice shotglasses on an ice counter at the Ice Palace in Shangri-La Hotel in the northern city of Harbin, on January 6, 2014. The temperatures inside the ice building is maintained around -10 degrees Celsius and it consists of bar and hot pot restaurant. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #
Visitors are silhouetted against lighted ice sculptures at the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, on January 5, 2014. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #
Ice sculptures at the Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in the northern city of Harbin, China, on January 5, 2014. (Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon) #

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