A blast of polar air brought record-low temperatures to much of the U.S. Midwest on Wednesday, making conditions so unbearable that trash haulers stopped making pickups and mail carriers suspended deliveries.

Temperatures in parts of the Northern Plains and Great Lakes plunged to as low minus 42 (minus 41 Celsius) in Park Rapids, Minnesota, and minus 31F in Fargo, North Dakota, according to the National Weather Service. The frigid winds were headed for the U.S. East Coast later on Wednesday into Thursday.

Streets in Chicago were nearly empty, with few people walking outside in the painfully cold air temperatures hovered around minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 28 Celsius).

At least five deaths related to extreme cold weather has been reporter in Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, local media reports said.

 

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales for Reuters Domestic News, additional reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta, and Gina Cherelus and Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Scott Malone, Bernadette Baum and Bill Berkrot)

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