An arctic blast that killed at least 23 people in the United States should ease over the weekend, replaced by erratic temperatures that will melt snow and ice and cause more problems. Warmer-than-normal weather was on the way, but that offered little comfort to vulnerable populations such as the homeless and elderly enduring cold that caused frostbite in minutes and made being outside potentially deadly.
That time, temperatures had plummeted to as low as minus 51 degrees Celsius in some places in the Midwest and Northeast US.
Poulakidas, a trauma specialist, said the hospital had seen about 25 frostbite victims this week.
A University of Iowa student was found dead outside a building at the campus early on Wednesday.
Temperatures on Wednesday morning were expected to bottom out around 15 below zero with wind chills around minus 30.
The weather service in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, warned that an "Arctic chill" may return next week after a "great" weekend.
Another significant record is in jeopardy in Chicago; Thursday morning lows will plummet close to the city's record low temperature of minus-27, set on January 20, 1985.
"There's just no way if you're not near a heat source that you can survive for very long out in weather like this", Dr Evans told the Chronicle-Telegram newspaper.
The record-breaking cold snap, which has seen temperatures in some parts of the country sink as low as -49C (-56F), will give way to milder, snow-melting temperatures of around 7-11C (45-52F) from Saturday, the US National Weather Service (NWS) said.
Meteorologists linked the spell of brutal cold to the so-called polar vortex, a cap of icy air that usually swirls over the North Pole.
Homes and businesses used record amounts of natural gas to fight the cold, according to financial data provider Refinitiv.
Consumers Energy, a natural gas provider in MI, had a fire on Wednesday morning that damaged equipment and temporarily affected how much gas could be sent out to customers.
Detroit's three major auto makers all suspended or curtailed manufacturing and other operations to conserve natural gas, according to The Detroit News. Fiat Chrysler canceled a shift on Thursday at two of its automobile plants.
Severe snow and ice created precarious travel conditions, with 26 road accidents reported within two hours on Thursday in eastern Iowa's Johnson County.
The Polar Vortex can roughly be defined as a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both the North Pole and the South Pole.
The weather service initially hinted of a possibility that Thursday morning could shatter the 1985 record.
Temperatures dove more than 30 degrees below zero Thursday morning in the Midwest in this polar vortex outbreak's last gasp, driving wind chills to risky levels and clobbering long-standing records.
The bitter cold gripping the American midwest is expected to turn into spring-like weather by early next week, according to forecasters.
"The weather is being considered by investigators as a circumstance that may have played a role in the death", East Moline Police Captain Darren Gault said in a statement on Friday.
This year: Peter Sinks experienced minus 40 temperatures this year, too, showing it's possible for Utah to experience temperatures similar to what we saw in the Midwest, Eubank said.