TODAY   |  February 03, 2011

Epic snowstorm leaves Midwesterners buried

As freezing temperatures continue to grip most of the country, residents in the Midwest are digging out from a record snowfall. NBC’s Al Roker reports from Chicago.

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>>> here at home, a blast of arctic air is adding to the misery caused by that huge winter storm that dumped a dangerous mix of snow and ice over a 2,100-mile swath from texas all the way to maine. al is still snowed in in chicago . good morning again, al.

>> well, good morning, matt. right now it is 4 degrees above zero. a windchill of 7 below. and it's just going to get worse. of course, folks here in chicago and along a 2,100-mile path are still digging out from this storm of historic proportions. this time, the storm lived up to the hype as snow, ice, and freezing temperatures gripped much of the country.

>> in a storm of this magnitude, there is no way to predict from minute to minute what problems may arise.

>> reporter: chicago recorded its third biggest storm ever with over 20 inches of snow and winds that exceeded 60 miles per hour at times. whiteouts stopped the evening rush hour in its tracks, leaving scenic lakeshore drive a snow-covered parking lot . outside boston, the accumulation of heavy snow caved in the roof of an office building . and on interstate 93 in new hampshire, a chain reaction accident forced one car to literally take a nose dive. the storm also halted air travel , leaving some with tickets to sunday's big game delayed.

>> we're going to come home with a lombardi trophy , baby!

>> reporter: super bowl bound fans could find dallas still reeling from an icy superstorm as temperatures continue to plummet. for much of the country, it's an icy mess. throughout indiana, crews are dealing with downed power lines . the roads are slick as well. a news van from channel 5 in cincinnati skidded into a country ditch and had to be towed. as street crews and homeowners began to dig out, fatigue and frustration set in.

>> if you have nothing to do, stay home.

>> it's pretty, but my husband owes me a larger snow blower .

>> reporter: but others took it in stride. and welcomed the midweek day off.

>> i think it's great. it's nice to have a snow day .

>> and, of course, the bad news is we've got another storm that we're going to tell you about coming up out of the south. here we've got to deal with bitterly cold temperatures. not just in chicago . as far south and west as texas. take a look at the windchill advisories and windchill warnings, stretching back from el paso all the way up into the great lakes. windchills right now, this morning, bitterly cold. we're talking windchills anywhere 10 to 20 degrees below zero . i mean, very, very cold temperatures. 12 degrees below zero in sioux falls . and then afternoon highs don't really -- don't really rebound too much. i mean, we're talking about single digits to below zero . high temperature readings, actually air temperatures. a real mess. of course, the other big concern as we take a look at this -- not just roof but building collapse in easton, massachusetts, the -- the employees starting to hear creaking. they saw tiles falling from the roof. they all got out safely. but this -- the big concern, especially in the northeast and on into new england, where there's so much snow on the roofs and then yesterday getting a lot of rain, the snow just soaks that up like a sponge, and the weight of the snow and ice may cause more roof collapses over the next 72 hours . matt?