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This Is What The "Polar Vortex" Really Did To A Lake Michigan Lighthouse

After numerous old photos of frozen lighthouses began circulating on the internet this week, BuzzFeed went to find out how the record cold spell truly transformed a Lake Michigan landmark.

Posted on January 9, 2014, at 5:28 p.m. ET

This is the Grand Haven Front Lighthouse, located on Lake Michigan. It was completely covered in ice Thursday after bitter cold paralyzed the region.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

The pier that leads to the lighthouse was also frozen over, battered this week by spray from Lake Michigan and heavy snow.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

Ice collected on virtually everything leading to the lighthouse, including an elevated catwalk.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

The wind sculpted the ice into beautiful and terrifying structures.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

Frozen water clung to the catwalk used to deliver power to the front lighthouse.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

The ice-covered pier and rear lighthouse blended in with the frozen lake.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

Few people dared to venture out onto the treacherous pier, where wind chills were near 5 degrees.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

In the event of an emergency, it would probably be best to reach for a cell phone.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

If someone should fall into the icy lake, good luck using this life preserver.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

Lake Michigan was covered in thick ice that resembled large, slippery cauliflowers.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

The beach, a major attraction in the summer, was completely frozen in ice and snow. Several residents said it was the worst they had ever seen here.

Jon Passantino / BuzzFeed

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.

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