The bitter cold weather across Canada has also taken hold of much of the northern United States and was expected to stay put for days.
Two Minnesota cities have set record-low temperatures and a city in Pennsylvania continues to dig out from a record snowfall.
Forecasters warned of hypothermia and frostbite from arctic air settling in over the central U.S. and spreading east.
The U.S. National Weather Service reported International Falls, Minn., the self-proclaimed Icebox of the Nation, plunged to –38 C, breaking the –35.5 record set in 1924. Hibbing, Minn., bottomed out at –33, breaking the –32 record set in 1964.
Wind chill advisories or warnings were in effect for much of New England, northern Pennsylvania and New York.
The National Weather Service also warned of severe wind chills in parts of northern and central Illinois and said the temperature in Maine will remain below freezing for more than 10 days.
Meanwhile, a storm brought 86 centimetres of snow on Christmas Day to Erie, Pa., an all-time daily snowfall record for the Great Lakes city, and another 67 centimetres fell on Tuesday. More than 157.5 centimetres have fallen on the city since Dec. 23.
In Millcreek, outside Erie, it took Kathleen Palkovic and her 23-year-old son two hours to shovel out so Palkovic could make it to her waitressing job. The eight-kilometre drive to Dave’s Diner in downtown Erie took an hour. The 62-year-old Palkovic and the cook opened the restaurant at a little after 6 a.m. in icy temperatures.
“We’re dedicated people, I guess,” Palkovic said. Something else helped: “It took 800 milligrams of ibruprofen, after all that, to get me to work.”
Snow plows descended on the Erie area and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf sent 21 National Guard troops driving Humvees and other high-clearance vehicles to help with emergency response and transport essential emergency services and hospital employees.
Erie County executive Kathy Dahlkemper said things were under control as well as could be expected, considering the heavy snowfall.
“We’re used to a lot of snow here in Erie, but this is unprecedented, the amount we got,” Dahlkemper said.
The timing was good, since people were off the streets and staying home for Christmas, giving plows more space to clear streets, Dahlkemper said.
By Wednesday, Erie’s roads were relatively clear, emergency calls had been relatively slow and the big task was digging out, Dahlkemper said.
Weather also was being blamed for a Kansas accident that killed four people after the pickup truck they were in fell off a bridge on Interstate 70 on Tuesday.
In New York state, communities near Lake Ontario’s eastern end, including Redfield and Boylston, continued to dig out of 152 cm of snow that has fallen since Christmas Day.
Other towns in western New York east of Lake Erie also received heavy snow.