Two people died in traffic accidents apparently caused by the slippery roads.
A passenger in a pickup truck that slid into oncoming traffic on an icy highway north of the Hastings Bridge and crashed into another pickup died Thursday night, officials said this morning. The crash at 8:30 p.m. on Hwy. 61 injured the two drivers.Earlier Thursday, a 21-year-old man from Clear Lake, Minn., died in a crash on Interstate Hwy. 94 near Monticello.
Jacob W. Jaeckels died at the scene of the crash about 6:30 a.m., according to the Minnesota State Patrol.
He was driving eastbound on I-94 by himself when he lost control and rolled his vehicle.
He was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the vehicle. Road conditions were icy at the time.
Elsewhere in the upper Midwest today, temperatures were expected to the coldest in years as chilly Arctic air spilled south from Canada.
The bone-numbing blast of arctic air that was also chilling the Northeast had claimed at least three lives and contributed to dozens of traffic accidents as vehicles slipped and slid on icy roads.
Numerous schools in Michigan, Iowa, Ohio and Illinois canceled classes for Friday as officials feared it would be dangerous for students to walk to school or wait for buses.The National Weather Service predicted the subzero temperatures would persist into the weekend. Wind chill warnings were in effect over much of five states advising the cold and strong winds could lead to hypothermia, frost bite and death.
Iowa City hospitals had treated three people for cold-related injuries by midday Thursday, said University of Iowa Hospitals spokesman Tom Moore. Overnight temperatures there reached minus 24 degrees.
Thursday morning's minus 11 reading — without wind chill — at O'Hare International Airport was the coldest daytime temperature recorded there since 1996, when it got down to minus 14.
The weather system descended from a large, dry air mass that hovered over Alaska and northern Canada for a couple of weeks before moving south. The frostiest conditions were to the north, but the cold stretched as far south as Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
In downtown Des Moines, where temperatures didn't top zero on Thursday, the Brenton Skating Plaza closed due to cold weather for the first time since it opened two years ago.
"The reason that we did is with the wind chill factor and how quickly frostbite sets in, and with us being right on the river," general manager Robbin McClelland said. "We want everybody to stay safe."
In Omaha, Nebraska, garbage truck driver James Finley was wearing several layers of clothes to protect himself freezing cold that with wind chill registered minus 15 on Thursday.
"This is the worst in my 13 years," Finley said while taking a coffee break inside his truck.Officials say at least three people have apparently froze to death overnight.
In Illinois, a 37-year-old man was found dead Thursday in the snow outside his home in Normal — without a coat, hat or gloves. Preliminary tests indicated he was intoxicated.
A 50-year-old man in southeastern Michigan appeared to have frozen to death after being locked out of his duplex overnight.