Richmond family waits for father’s return from polar vortex: ‘I’m slightly worried’

RICHMOND, Va., -- A Richmond father braved the cold while staying in the Chicago suburbs as a polar vortex crippled much of the Midwest.

Jesse Joyner has spent the past two weeks in Deerfield, Illinois at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School working towards his PhD in education.

There temperatures dipped dangerously low for anyone braving the outside.

"It got down to 22 below zero yesterday morning and this morning," Joyner told his wife, Sarah, via Facetime on Thursday.

Since, Sarah and the couple's two small children have been patiently waiting for Jesse's return inside their home on Richmond's Northside.

"I'm slightly worried," Sarah explained. "It is pretty dangerous to be outside right now up there."

To prove it, Jesse recorded himself placing a wet t-shirt outside on a stair railing.

The shirt was a solid block of ice when he returned just minutes later.

"I was only outside for 2 minutes. I was 3 minutes shy of the frostbite point," Joyner stated. "I go outside for 2 or 3 minutes at a time just to experience how cold it is, but that’s all you can handle."

Joyner's classes have been canceled while the students and teacher are working remotely from inside their homes.

Meanwhile, the bitter cold grounded 12 flights between Chicago and Richmond International Airport.

Sarah worried if her husband's scheduled flight home on Friday would also be canceled.

"There’s going to be a heatwave up to 15 degrees or something," Joyner laughed. "I'll make it home."

Sadly, at least 16 deaths have been linked to this week's extreme weather.

The deaths were reported across Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana since the weekend, according to CNN.

CNN also reported almost 50 frostbite victims were treated at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital in Chicago over the last two days.

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