Ian Ziering Ian Ziering

The polar vortex wasn't the only freakish weather system to invade New York City this winter. The sequel to Syfy's Sharknado, last summer's over-the-top, Twitter-busting pop-culture phenomenon, was filmed amid frigid conditions throughout the Big Apple. Ian Ziering and Tara Reid reprise their roles as recently reconciled couple Fin and April, who barely survived last year's series of shark-infested waterspouts that tore through Los Angeles.

On the set of Sharknado 2: The Second One in February, Ziering wasn't feeling the pressure of expectations to top the original, which spurred more than 300,000 tweets during its original broadcast. "Either you like it or you don't like it," the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum says. "I didn't have high hopes for the first movie, and look what happened."

The Second One is crazier and more cartoonishly gory than the first. Fin and April venture to New York to promote April's book, How to Survive a Sharknado (a real-life version of which has just been published by Three Rivers Press, just one of many tie-in products), and, just when they thought it was safe to get on with their lives, another fishy situation develops. (As you might expect from a Syfy movie, there is no legitimate explanation for this bizarre meteorological system, which humorously confounds the Today show's Matt Lauer and Al Roker, who parody themselves in cameo roles.)

Vivica A. Fox, Kari Wuhrer and Mark McGrath join the cast, and celebrity cameos are as plentiful as the flying finned man-eaters, including Judd Hirsch (as a jovial cabdriver, in a nod to his Taxi days), Robert Klein as the mayor, plus Kelly Osbourne, Wil Wheaton, Shark Tank's Daymond John and, in a brilliant homage to the 1980 classic comedy Airplane!, Robert Hays.

For a climactic scene shot in midtown Manhattan, Ziering goes into full-on Braveheart mode, climbing atop of fire truck wielding a massive chain saw while rallying the masses. "Let's go show them what it means to be a hero," he roars. "Let's go show them what it means to be a New Yorker. Let's go kill some sharks!"

While everyone else is shivering, Ziering seems unfazed by the wintery weather. In between takes, he gazes up and imagines a shark-infested sky. "Sometimes I have to laugh at all this," he says, "but when the cameras roll, everyone's professional and taking it seriously. And we're having a great time with it, by the way."

Sharknado 2: The Second One airs Wednesday at 9/8c on Syfy.

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