Deadly Arctic deep freeze envelops US Midwest

Wind-chill temperatures in parts of the Northern Plains and Great Lakes plunged as low as minus 42 F (minus 41 C) in Park Rapids, Minnesota, and to 31 degrees below zero F (minus 35 C) in Fargo, North Dakota, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). During the early Wednesday morning hours, much of the Dakotas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and IL are locked down with these "feels like" temperatures in the -40s, -50s, and even -60s (Fahrenheit) as winds howl out of the west at up to 25mph.

A blast of historic cold temperatures hit the US Midwest, with record lows for both daily high and low temperatures expected Wednesday and Thursday across the region.

The blast of arctic cold that hit the U.S. Midwest this week will linger on Thursday, but it's pushing east and losing much of its bite.

Wind chills in northern IL were expected to fall as low as -48C which the National Weather Service called "possibly life-threatening".

With temperatures set to drop to once-in-a-generation lows, here is a selection of some of the best photographs.

In Illinois, at least 144 people visited hospital emergency rooms for cold-related injuries over two days.

School was called off for millions of students and many businesses were closed, with heating systems struggling and in many cases failing to overcome the frigid temperatures. About 1,700 flights in and out of Chicago airports were canceled.

The deadly, sub-zero temperatures were expected to lift Friday, but the misery would not end quickly in the roughly dozen states most affected.

Homeless and displaced people were particularly at risk, with Chicago and other cities setting up warming shelters.

Mail carriers, known for making deliveries through rain, sleet and snow, draw the line at life-threatening cold. But extreme cold will on Wednesday. "They were cold", Deputy Fire Chief David Pendleton said. The U.S. Postal Service has suspended mail delivery in parts or all of several Midwest states including North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and MI.

Governors in Illinois, Wisconsin and MI declared emergencies as the worst of the cold threatened on Wednesday.

The cold has caused at least 12 deaths since Saturday across the Midwest, according to officials and news media reports. The body of a 55-year-old man was found frozen in his garage Tuesday in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after he apparently collapsed while shoveling snow. With winds blowing at 5 to 10 miles per hour, wind chill would have been around minus-65 degrees. "I feel sorry for anybody that has to stay outside".

Commuters fearless the wind and snow in frigid weather in Cincinnati, on January 30, 2019. Detroit also said all public schools would close, and Michigan State University said it would suspend classes, only the seventh time it has done so because of weather since 1855.

Shelters, churches and city departments in Detroit worked together to help get vulnerable people out of the cold, offering the message to those who refused help that "you're going to freeze or lose a limb", said Terra DeFoe, a senior adviser to Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

America's northern neighbor Canada was also contending with extreme cold, with frozen water pipes, snarled travel on a major waterway, and temperatures as low as -40F (-40C) on Wednesday.

  • Rogelio Becker