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Extreme Temperatures Affect Two Distant Nations; We Explain the Term Polar Vortex; Thailand Grapples With Air Pollution; How Much Is Spent During the Super Bowl

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(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If Sydney's central business district reaches it's forecast maximum of 40 degrees today, it will be their hottest day since last summer and 14 degrees above the average.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Here in Chicago the temperature is nothing to play with. Dangerous lows, something the city hasn't seen in quite some time.

Look at the river, it's all frozen. It looks like a winter play land. Schools have been shutdown. Warming centers have been set up all across the city and there's a real worry about the homeless population here. Because if you're outside for any long period of time, frostbite has become a real concern. Our Lake Michigan, it has been so cold you can see the steam actually rising.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This will go down in the books as Sydney's second hottest January on record. The sweltering haze has been put extra pressure on the in demand power supply across the state. As many turn to fans and air cons in a bid to keep cool.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: So a tale of two extremes leading things off for us today on CNN 10. But for the U.S. at least relief is in sight and it will be a dramatic change. This week in Chicago, Illinois temperatures dropped down to 25 degrees below zero Fahrenheit but by the end of the weekend, the city's expected to see temperatures rise by 75 degrees to the low 50's. Meteorologists expected Thursday to be the last day of extreme cold air in the U.S., at least temporarily.

That's when two-thirds of the country's population woke up to temperatures below freezing and about a quarter of Americans shivered in temperatures below zero. A volunteer firefighter in Wisconsin emerged from battling a house fire with his beard covered in ice. The wind chill, which is what the temperature feels like when the wind blows, was negative 50. A popular phrase associated with U.S. mail carriers is neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night keeps them from their rounds.

But when artic temperatures frosted over the Midwest and Northeast, deliveries were suspended in parts of six states on Thursday. The Red

Cross canceled hundreds of blood drives because of the cold weather. And in Michigan, a state that's used to weathering cold and driving snow, state government offices closed two days in a row. One phrase we often hear when this kind of cold settles in is polar vortex. Here's Jennifer Gray to explain.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JENNIFER GRAY, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: It's not a storm. It's not a hurricane of cold air. It's not even something that can come and get you.

The only way to be in the polar vortex is to be in an airplane. It exists in the upper levels of the atmosphere and is always there. It's an area of low pressure around the Artic Circle that's locked in place and houses some very cold air.

Sometimes different weather patterns can influence the polar vortex and cause it to become distorted. As it happens, a large dip in the jet stream allows very cold air to spill into the U.S. That's the cold air you feel. The air that lives beneath the polar vortex. Air that many times is so cold it can feel like something out of this world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARL AZUZ: Another effect of all this winter weather is that many U.S. schools have been closed. Part of the reason's because of ice and snow but part of it is because it's dangerous for students to wait at bus stops in the extreme cold. Schools have been shut down in the capital of Thailand as well but for a very different reason. Officials in Bangkok are trying to reduce the number of cars on the road in an effort to tackle air pollution. But that's only one of several ways Thailand's trying to deal with the problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: These are Thailand's latest pollution fighting weapons. Dozens of drones dispatched in a desperate attempt to battle toxic smog in Bangkok by spraying a water and molasses solution to catch air particles.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE TRANSLATED: We're doing this because we think it will get better. If we do nothing, we'll be criticized for doing nothing.

STOUT: But the plan has a number of critics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The drone operation that runs through (ph) the morning actually is a stunt. It's useless operation.

STOUT: A murky haze has been choking the capital for weeks now sparking criticism over the government's uneven response just weeks ahead of elections. Students across Bangkok were dismissed from class early on Wednesday after authorities ordered the closure of hundreds of schools for the rest of the week.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE TRANSLATED: I don't want school to be closed because it's getting close to the final exam but I'm worried about my kid's health.

I heard on the news that schools were closed so I rushed here. My son's health is not good. He coughs a lot and always has to use a nasal spray.

STOUT: Thailand's Department of Pollution says, air quality in Bangkok has fallen to harmful levels as the amount of hazardous dust particles known as

"PM2.5" exceeded safe levels in more than 40 areas around the capital. These microscopic particles are small enough to lodge deep into the lungs and pass onto other organs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ever increasing number of automobile in - - in - - in the city. Another source is also coming from factory. Last (inaudible)

burning from plantation from mining from the (inaudible) in Cambodia.

STOUT: Authorities have tried everything from seeding rain clouds to hosing down streets to control the pollution crisis have so far failed to clear the air. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CARL AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. What football team has won the most Super Bowls? San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers or

Dallas Cowboys. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers have won six Super Bowls. The other teams on this list have each won five.

Super Bowl LIII will be played right behind me here in Atlanta, Georgia this weekend. It is one of the most watched U.S. television events. As much as a third of the country is estimated to tune in for the game. The National Retail Federation, the U.S. trade association, estimates that

Americans will spend almost $15 billion for the game but that's not on tickets. It includes things like team clothing, decorations, new TVs, most of all food. The National Chicken Council says almost 1.4 billion chicken wings will be eaten this weekend.

Frito-Lay expects that 80 percent of Americans will eat potato or tortilla chips while watching the game. Dominoes and Pizza Hut say they'll sell a combined total of 3.5 million pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday. And if you are looking for a last minute ticket, prices on Thursday were between $2,500

for one nose bleed seat and $14,000 for something close to the 50 yard line. Kick off for the game between the Los Angeles Rams and the New

England Patriots is scheduled for 6:30pm.

10 out of 10 today comes to us courtesy of some California sheriff's deputies who recently rescued a lost bull elephant seal. They teamed up with fish and wildlife officials to coax him, this probably counts as coaxing to head back across the road and toward the sea. That's easier said than done for a massive mammal that can weigh up to 5,000 pounds.

But he did make it back to his herd. We never know why the elephant seal crossed the road. Maybe he was just "stout" for a walk. Maybe he made a

"rookerie" mistake. Maybe he thought it was a safe crossing for "penapedistrians" but either way it "seals" up another show on a happy note so there's nothing for him to "blubber" about. I'm Carl Azuz for CNN 10.

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