TODAY   |  January 08, 2014

Bitter cold a big problem for millions

Arctic temperatures continue to put on the freeze on millions of people in the country, shattering records in many southern states. NBC’s Dylan Dreyer reports from Minnesota.

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

>>> obviously the cold is our top story again today. the death toll from the weather has climbed to 21 people, 13 in illinois and indiana.

>> more than 11,000 flights have also been canceled nationwide in the past four days. and record lows have been set in at least 50 major cities, including a wide section of the south.

>> let's start this morning with nbc's dylan dreyer braving the cold once again in minneapolis. dylan , good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, matt. you know, we are here at mini ha ha falls, but just a mini ha ha . look at how they are completely frozen over. naturally just shut off. it's about 7 degrees below zero here in minneapolis, a little bit warmer than yesterday. but it is still seriously cold from the midwest to the northeast and even down into the south.

>> it's one more brutal morning.

>> it's crazy.

>> reporter: arctic temperatures taking their toll everywhere you look.

>> it's a big sheet of ice out there. everybody's slipping and sliding.

>> reporter: for drivers, black ice is a big issue. watch as a minnesota motorist loses control of her suv and plunges off a bridge. luckily, her injuries were not serious.

>> once you hit black ice , you're gone.

>> reporter: dangerous highway conditions are posing problems for truckers from indiana to upstate new york .

>> i wish i could see the front of my hood. any time you get the road across the road with this fine snow, cuts your visibility like that.

>> it's still a nightmare for many air travelers with thousands of cancellations nationwide.

>> wait and hope i get out of here.

>> reporter: this polar air shattered records in southern states not accustomed to the cold in georgia and florida, folks brought out their heavy jackets and scarves.

>> mother nature , that's the only one you can blame.

>> this photograph captures mother nature 's grip on the city of chicago . here's michigan, also frozen over. no matter the temperature, work goes on. neither rain, nor sleet, nor polar vortex can stop this mail carrier in buffalo.

>> i've never delivered in a storm like this.

>> reporter: we're all waiting to catch a break from mother nature . now, it is going to take a serious spring thaw to get these falls flowing again. but in the meantime. hey, we could get above freezing by the time we get to friday. natalie?

>> thanks so much, dylan .