"I don't think there's ever been a case where we've seen [such a big] shift in temperatures [in the winter]", Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the Weather Underground firm, said. Some 250 million Americans overall have experienced the "polar vortex" conditions.
However, places such as Rockford, Illinois, where the mercury dropped to a record-setting -31F (-35C) on Thursday morning, should warm to 50F (10C) by Monday.
A 92-year-old man died from cardiovascular disease and hypothermia in the 9400 block of South Parnell Avenue in the Brainerd neighborhood on the Far South Side.
One hospital in Chicago alone treated more than 50 people for frostbite.
Unsafe roads have also been a factor in the deaths. A young married couple in IN died in a auto crash. Milwaukee's low was minus 25 degrees (minus 31 Celsius), and Minneapolis recorded minus 24 degrees (minus 31 Celsius). He says past cold waves have not dissipated this quickly.
But as the temperatures abruptly turn warmer, U.S. emergency officials warn of flooding and utility risks. Experts say it's unprecedented, and it could create problems of its own such as bursting pipes, flooding rivers and crumbling roads.
A fire at the Vermont Farm Show in Essex, Vermont, led authorities to evacuate vendors and livestock to get them out of the cold.
Chicago passed the record low for 31 January, while Mount Carroll has probably beaten the IL record with a morning temperature of -39C.
The city also continues to operate 142 of its public buildings and facilities Thursday as warming centers.
In Minnesota and Upper Michigan, temperatures hit 29C and parts of North Dakota were at -30C. Cedar Rapids, Iowa, set a daily record low of minus 34 C. In order to both stop the degradation of our environment and best survive the weather catastrophes that are already happening, we need a system that prioritizes human life and welfare, not private profit.
Paulina Dedaj is a writer/ reporter for Fox News.
One death involved an elderly IL man whose body was found hours after he had fallen trying to get back into his home.
Detroit's three major auto makers all suspended or curtailed manufacturing and other operations to conserve natural gas, according to The Detroit News.
More than 1,600 flights were canceled in Chicago by mid-morning. These people are the most at risk, as they are relying on the limited capacity of inadequate social welfare services, or the goodwill of people they know to stay out of the cold.
Areas across the provinces of Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan, and in the north, remain under extreme cold warnings.
At least nine deaths have been connected to the polar vortex, which brought activity across the Midwest to a grinding halt.
The dangerously cold water has continued to shatter records across the Midwest. And wind chills made it feel many degrees colder.
Officials across multiple states linked numerous deaths to the frigid air, with the homeless and elderly being among the most vulnerable.