The US is shivering in an arctic blast the like of which it has not seen in the last twenty years.
Bitterly cold temperatures and deep snow have hit the Midwest moving on to Chicago and forecasters say the mega winter storm could last for several days and reach as far south as northern Florida.
Wind chill is the main worry with temperatures set to feel as low as minus 51 degrees Celsius in some places.
Indianapolis mayor, Greg Ballard warned his constituents:
“This weather combination that we are seeing right now with all of the snow and the cold is unlike anything that we have seen in decades in this area and I cannot emphasise that enough. The cold really scares me and as such we will have temperatures that are potentially deadly or certainly life-altering so right now we have to be very very careful.”
Indeed in such low temperatures exposed skin can freeze in as little as five minutes, warned one doctor.
The big freeze is causing headaches for travellers; trains, planes and cars are all struggling. At the weekend nearly 4,000 flights were cancelled and numerous accidents blocked high ways.
The so-called polar vortex, an anti-clockwise pool of cold dense air is to blame. It moved down from the arctic before dumping 60 cm of snow on parts of Canada.
And the advice for the next few days – stay indoors and try to keep warm.