Winter snowstorms and subzero temperatures are a teeth-chattering part of life in the Midwest and Northeast. But familiarity has offered little insulation this week as records fell, water pipes froze and snow piled up in a large swath of the United States.
The blast of frigid misery hit Boston and Bismarck, N.D., and most points in between, leading to record-tying temperatures in Detroit and historic snowfall in Erie, Pa., where more than 65 inches had piled up between Sunday evening and Wednesday afternoon.
Here in Chicago, as temperatures hung in the single digits and snow loomed in the forecast, sidewalk signs warned well-bundled pedestrians to beware of falling ice. And in Green Bay, Wis., where the local football stadium is known (lovingly) as the Frozen Tundra, downtown traffic was snarled Wednesday when a drawbridge became stuck in its lifted position.