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"Due to extremely high demand for natural gas with these record low temperatures and a facility incident, Consumers Energy has asked that everyone who is able to turn down their thermostats through Friday at noon so we can all get through this with minimal harm", Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.

Environment Canada issued extreme cold warnings for most parts of Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, urging residents to limit their exposure to cold and keep pets indoors.

With the biting cold moving out, temperatures will be all over the place in the next few days, a rapid change that will cause thermal whiplash for people living in affected areas.

American Indian tribes in the Upper Midwest were doing what they could to help members in need with heating supplies.

Temperatures from southern New England to the Upper Midwest should reach the mid-40s to low 50s Fahrenheit through the weekend and Monday, forecasters said, after a record-breaking cold snap that stopped mail deliveries in some parts of the Midwest and shuttered schools and businesses. Snowplows were parked overnight in southwestern Minnesota, where temperatures dropped to 29 degrees below zero.

Tom Skilling, a longtime meteorologist at Chicago's WGN-TV, says describing the weather as brutal is an understatement.

Environment Canada reported record-breaking snowfall at the Ottawa airport, where some 50 flights were canceled, with an accumulation of almost a meter (more than three feet). It has been more than 20 years since temperatures as low as minus 49 degrees Celsius covered swaths of the Midwest and Northeast. Atlanta shivered in the 20s this week but will bask in the 60s when it hosts the Super Bowl on Sunday. But a dramatic swing of as much as 80 degrees was expected within days.

Officials in IL and the Northern states are advising residents to stay indoors, as Chicago braced for one of its coldest days on record.

At Least 2 Dead After Small Plane Crash In California
It was not immediately known how many people were on board the plane, which had taken off from Fullerton Municipal Airport. It happened on Sunday afternoon in a residential area of Yorba Linda, which is southwest of Los Angeles.

People in cities that are not used to icy conditions are warned to look out for falling icicles and other hazards, including fresh potholes left by ice and rising riverbanks.

"It's got to be an nearly 50 degree difference, it feels like spring", said one commuter heading home from Chicago's downtown financial district, wearing only a sweatshirt. "They are going from well below average temperature to well above average temperatures".

Dickinson, North Dakota, surpassed the freezing mark of 32 degrees above zero (0 Celsius) midmorning Friday, making the city more than 50 degrees warmer than its low of minus 17 (-27 C) on Tuesday.

In a rare move, the US Postal Service appeared to set aside its credo that "neither snow nor rain. nor gloom of night" would stop its work as it halted deliveries from parts of the Dakotas through Ohio. Utqiagvik, formerly known as Barrow, will drop to around minus-20 - 10 degrees warmer than parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and IL will be at the same time.

Hundreds of warming centers were opened for vulnerable residents such as seniors, and shelter capacities increased for the homeless. It happens when water underground freezes and expands, causing soil and rock to crack. UI police said the investigation into 18-year-old Gerald Belz's death is ongoing but believed to be weather related. They included someone found dead at a bus stop, and two men who were removing snow, said Peter Anderson, spokesman for the Erie County executive's office.

This commuter in Chicago looks very cold.

Among the dead are an 18-year-old University of Iowa student; four men found frozen in Illinois, Wisconsin and MI; six Iowans who died in auto crashes; a pedestrian hit by a snowplow in Illinois; and a woman found frozen in her apartment in Milwaukee after a "thermostat malfunction", the Times reports.