Five deaths linked to ‘Coldest air in a generation’

(CNN) — As millions grapple with the frigid temperatures, at least five deaths have been linked to the extreme weather this week.

In Rochester, Minnesota, a man died Sunday outside the home where he was staying with a relative. He didn’t have keys to the home and couldn’t get in after being dropped off that morning. The single-digit temperatures that dipped below zero may have played a role in his death, police said.

In Illinois, a man died Monday in a crash involving a village plow truck and a pedestrian, Libertyville police said. The plow truck driver has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation.

The same day, Ethan and Shawna Kiser were killed when their Saturn Vue spun sideways and into the path of a GMC Yukon in northern Indiana, authorities said. They were 22 and 21, respectively.

A 55-year-old man was found dead Tuesday in the detached garage of his Milwaukee home after he apparently collapsed while shoveling snow, the medical examiner’s office said.

Officials warned of almost instant frostbite as temperatures in the region plunged below zero Wednesday. Some state offices are closed and postal workers won’t deliver mail in 10 states.

While most of the Midwest will see frigid temperatures, Chicago will be “the epicenter of the extreme cold,” CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said.

Chicago could reach a record low temperature of 27 below zero by Thursday morning. Its daytime high Wednesday is forecast to be 15 below zero. Officials there are setting railroad tracks on fire because the extreme cold can cause defects.

It’s so cold, some Illinois and Iowa residents would be better off warming up in parts of Antarctica. The high temperature Wednesday in Priestley Glacier, Antarctica, will be 6 degrees Fahrenheit, with a low of 7 below zero.

About 212 million people — or 72% of the continental US population — will see temperatures drop below freezing over the next few days. And more than 83 million Americans — about 25% of the US population — will suffer subzero temperatures at some point between Wednesday and Monday.

More than 3,300 flights involving US airports were canceled Tuesday and Wednesday, including more than 2,000 in and out of Chicago airports, according to FlightAware.com.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.