Feeling the Cold Snap: U.S. Temperatures Drop

A worker clears a path for a delayed Southwest flight out of Midway airport in Chicago, Ill. i i

A worker clears a path for a delayed Southwest flight out of Midway airport in Chicago, Ill. Snow and cold weather delayed flights in and out of Midwestern airports all day. Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images
A worker clears a path for a delayed Southwest flight out of Midway airport in Chicago, Ill.

A worker clears a path for a delayed Southwest flight out of Midway airport in Chicago, Ill. Snow and cold weather delayed flights in and out of Midwestern airports all day.

Jeff Haynes/AFP/Getty Images

Across the Northern Plains and the Eastern United States, the cold snap is blamed for at least seven deaths. Cook, Minn., had the coldest temperature today, according to the National Weather Service: 31 degrees below zero.

"Over the last couple of weeks, the El Nino has weakened a little bit," says Dennis Feltgen of the National Weather Service. "So as a result, polar air is making its way into the eastern half of the country, and we're feeling the type of weather that would be normally expected for winter."

The arctic cold inspired a contest in Detroit called "Heat the Streets," in which runners raise money to help people pay their heating bills. Tonight's run of 6 to 8 miles is expected to take place in temperatures dipping below 10 degrees.

The new weather is being welcomed in some quarters, however: Wisconsin ice fishermen are happy that the thicker ice is giving them a chance to catch some fish. "Keeps me out of bars," said one man who had caught 18 blue-gills and crappies on Monona Bay.

The low in Madison, Wisc., tonight is expected to be 10 degrees below zero.

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