Cities are all but shutting down across the US Midwest as the region shivers in a deadly cold snap known as a polar vortex.
At least eight people have been killed in several states as a result of the Arctic weather. Temperatures fell to -30C (-22F) in Chicago – colder than parts of Antarctica – and -37C in North Dakota. Freezing weather will chill 250 million Americans, and 90 million will experience -17C (0F) or below.
“This could possibly be history-making,” said Ricky Castro, a National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist in Illinois.
Dangerous wind chills across the Upper Midwest and into the Ohio Valley were expected to last through Thursday, with heavy snow downwind of the Great Lakes, the NWS said. Heavy rain and mountain snow were expected in the west of the country by the weekend, it added.
The NWS is warning frostbite is possible within just 10 minutes of being outside in such extreme temperatures.
Grand Forks, North Dakota, has seen the lowest wind chill so far at -54C on Wednesday morning. Twenty million people in the continental US are expected to experience temperatures of -28C or lower by the week’s end.
On Tuesday, a 55-year-old man froze to death in a Milwaukee, Wisconsin, garage, with the medical examiner’s office ruling he “apparently collapsed after shovelling snow”, local media reported.
In Pekin, Illinois, NBC News reported an 82-year-old man died from hypothermia outside his home.
A 75-year-old man was killed by a snow plough near Chicago on Monday. The driver of the plough has been placed on paid leave while the incident is investigated, according to WGN9 News.
In northern Indiana, a young couple died after a collision on icy roads. And a University of Iowa student was found behind an academic hall several hours before dawn on Wednesday, reports say.
Source: BBC World News