TODAY   |  January 05, 2014

‘Bone-chilling’ cold set to shatter records

A historical chill is on the way, with Arctic air set to cover an enormous swath of the U.S. The cold comes as some regions continue to recover from a recent snowstorm. TODAY’s Dylan Dreyer reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we want to begin with today's top story bitter blast of cold air. it's bone chilling to put it mildly. here you are looking at indianapolis where fans are still celebrating this morning but not celebrating the temperatures which are dropping by the hour. right now not terrible, 32 degrees. by this time tomorrow, however, it will be below zero .

>> if you really want to talk about cold try being a fan at lambeau today when the packers take on the 49ers. it could feel like 15 below during the game there and while beers are normally kept on ice they will have to have heaters to keep the beer from freezing. dillon live in green bay , wisconsin. dillon , how cold is it right now?

>> caller: it is cold right now. a side note. a warm beer actually sounds really good right about now. it's 6 degrees . wind chills at about 10 below. keep in mind this area is used to this. the packers have played in five of the ten coldest nfl games on record, four of those here at lambeau field naturally earning the name frozen tundra. a lot of talk comparing today's game to the ice bowl . that game was 13 degrees below zero with a wind chill of minus 48 degrees. today at game time should be around 5. wind chills at 15 below. not as cold as the ice bowl but dangerously cold for fans and players alike and the coldest is still yet to come. the national weather service of minneapolis calls this deep freeze quote historic. forecasters are warning that the lowest temperatures in 20 years.

>> we're talking subzero highs.

>> reporter: arctic air is pushing far south and east covering an enormous swath of the country. 100 million americans will be affected. records could fall from michigan to georgia where they go see single digits. minnesota's governor say it's too dangerous to send kids into the school. big school districts in wisconsin including milwaukee are out too. perhaps more than a million kids will stay home monday.

>> flights are cancelled.

>> reporter: between the cold and snow nearly 7,000 flights have been cancelled across the country since thursday. the ripple effect of airport delays in the northeast and midwest is spreading from denver to palm beach , florida.

>> the airport got shut down twice while we were in the air.

>> reporter: . out on the roads more snow in the midwest and rain in the south bringing the possibility of flash freezing .

>> we tallied over 8,000 calls.

>> reporter: that's a record for aaa in new england. they say it's a good idea to start your car over the weekend.

>> did a quick trip around the block to get the blood flowing in the vehicle so on monday morning when you head out.

>> reporter: firms are warning to stay off the roads. crews dealt with frozen water lines fighting this fire north of providence. in the end the structure of frozen and destroyed. dangerous conditions also for the homeless or anyone who is going to be outside for any length of time. it's very important to keep checking for frostbite.

>> one of the things people will see first is intense redness and pain and that's going to be followed by numbness.

>> reporter: that's a major concern in green bay today as fans get ready for another ice bowl . now the coldest weather is still yet to come and here's why. we have what's called a polar vortex . normally sitting up in the north pole . look how far south this is. this is exceptionally far south and stay put as we start off the day today into tomorrow. you can see it does slowly move eastward as we go into monday and eventually into northeast by the time we get to tuesday. finally wednesday it will start to lift off to the north. what does it mean for fans today in green bay and rest of the upper midwest . we're going to see brutally high cold temperatures. that cold is working into areas like minneapolis where it's about 9 degrees below zero for a high temperature. then monday 12 below for a high in green bay . now the reason why this is so important, these are a lot of numbers to throw at you with wind chills of 45 to 65 degrees below zero but if you have unexposed skin it could get frostbite in about five to ten minutes. that's a very short period of time. that's why it's so dangerous and that's why you need to cover as much of your skin as possible and goes for your face as well. on tuesday green bay should make it up to 4 degrees , minneapolis gets up to 1. we'll start to see improvements but not like it's going to warm up significantly around here any time soon. we'll just lose those record low high temperatures however you want to put it. craig and ericca.

>> you touched on this a little bit. it will be spring like here in new york but it's making its way east, correct?

>> it certainly is. it's going to be bizarre how warm it is today with the rain in the northeast, eventually by monday temperatures up around 50 degrees. but that cold front that's sitting back in the great lakes it's extremely brutal and by tuesday that's when you're going to notice the temperatures crash. so all of the melt cigarette going to refreeze. take a look at these high temperatures. today 45 in new york, 40 on monday, 13 by tuesday. even washington, d.c. drops to 14 degrees by tuesday. highs on monday in atlanta, georgia, 19 degrees. again that's not even fact jorge in the wind chill which will make it feel like it's at zero or below and, again, that's that dangerous cold. you want to bundle up and cover up as much of your skin as you can and put on layers and really just stay indoors because this is a dangerous kind of cold that we don't see too often.

>> all right, dillon .