TODAY   |  January 07, 2014

Despite the cold, volunteers helping out in Minn.

While a deep freeze grips the area, volunteers are out in full force at the Youth Link Drop-In Center in Minneapolis, where homeless teens are finding refuge from the cold. NBC’s Dylan Dreyer reports.

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>>> well, we've got the nation covered from the midwest to the deep south . let's start with nbc's dylan dreyer in minneapolis this morning. it is minus 12. dylan , good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. it is minus 12. -- than it was this time yesterday. but this extreme cold has a vice grip on the upper midwest . and at this point, any temperature above zero would be welcome relief. bitter, brutal, bone-chilling. a deep freeze making big-time misery for millions.

>> i think it's kind of ridiculous. i'm totally not used to it.

>> but who wants to get used to this? in the midwest, many schools are closing again today. authorities want folks to stay indoors unless it's an emergency.

>> take the severity of this weather seriously.

>> in chicago, motorists are calling aaa 650 times an hour.

>> we have never seen anything like it.

>> reporter: across the country, record low temperatures. from 16 below in chicago, minus 14 in burlington, iowa, and negative 13 in ft. wayne, indiana. it was ten degrees in little rock , arkansas, and 22 in austin, texas. air travel is one big headache, too. one in ten plane departures, more than 3,700 flights canceled monday.

>> i've been in this airport for about 12 hours. exhausted.

>> still, these frigid conditions can bring out some of the best in the human spirit . here in minneapolis at the teen drop-in center, we saw staffers working 24/7 to help out.

>> we have warm space for youth to be.

>> reporter: for many homeless teens like chris, it's a place to find people who care.

>> it's a safe environment to be here, especially when it's cold outside. and stay out of that wind.

>> reporter: warm hearts making this dangerous cold a little less tough to take.

>> reporter: now, i'm telling you how dangerous it is to be outside, yet i'm outside telling you this. but i want you to know, my crew and i, we are fully prepared for this cold. i have three layers of fleece-lined pants and shirts, i have ski pants, this ridiculously warm jacket, heat packs all over me and i don't have any skin exposed. right before i come on, i keep this pulled up to here to protect my face. and if that's not enough, i have my car over there with the heat jacked up. we are literally not outside for more than minutes at a time because it's too dangerous.

>> and a lot of people wonder about that, dylan . and no flasks, to be clear. dylan dreyer, thank you so much.

>> no flasks yet.