TODAY   |  January 27, 2014

January is coldest month this century

As dangerous temperatures hit much of the nation, another deep freeze is moving in, making January the coldest month so far this century. NBC’s Dylan Dreyer reports.

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>>> but we will begin with today's top story. here we go again, the historic deep freeze, a new blast of brutal cold is descending on much of the country today. and this one could produce some of the lowest temperatures of the year so far. dylan dreyer up in boston this morning. good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. 2014 hasn't been off to the best start. we have seen unrelenting, almost unusual cold from areas like fargo all the way down to florida . now, there's still two months left of winter. and with another polar plunge already moving in, so many people have already had enough.

>> reporter: muscle and machinery, both tested in a month of snowstorms and freezing weather. in chicago , dangerous cold forcing officials to close public schools this morning. forecasters say it could feel like 40 below with the windchill. heavy gusts had visibility near zero in the dakotas on sunday leading police to close some major highways. icy roads have been a problem as far south as texas. the prolonged cold has led to a shortage of propane gas leading 24 states to declare energy emergencies while in florida , worried farmers have been using frost blankets to protect their crops. there has been some fun in the frigid conditions. some people shooting boiling water from water guns only to watch it turn into frozen mist. and as players arrived in new jersey ahead of the super bowl next sunday, a question a lot of sports fans are asking, will the weather affect the big game ? the league's play only calls for a change if local and state officials said it wasn't safe for people to travel to the game.

>> we would all love to play in 70-degree weather. but if you tell me it's going to be 20 degrees and i've got to play in the super bowl , i don't think there's one guy that will shy away from it.

>> reporter: now, the game is going to be played on sunday, february 2nd , that's groundhog's day, which al, as you've mentioned is a story in and of itself. but it'll be interesting to see if a new month will bring in, finally, a new weather pattern.

>> looks like we will see that. thanks so much. but let's talk about this brutal cold air. another piece of the polar vortex pushing down and bringing that cold air from the dakotas all the way down into florida , which is going to set up for a big winter storm . we'll tell you about that. look at this right now. feels like 14 below in minneapolis, 15 in chicago and cleveland, 13 in cincinnati, and these temperatures, it's nice and warm, actually, in the northeast. washington, 40, 31 in boston , but that's going to be changing. look at the temperatures as they start to drop during the day today. falling down, gets up to about 42 in boston and then starts falling. chicago , 6 below, 10 in omaha, and overnight tonight, we continue to watch the mercury fall. by early tomorrow morning , chicago will be 16 below, 17 below in marquette, 24 in charlotte. and then look at this, that cold air sets up, and we've got along this front, we're going to be looking at a low pressure developing. so from houston all the way to the carolinas , we've got winter storm warnings, winter weather watches. an icy mix from houston all the way into the southeast. snow to the north of that. and look at what we're talking about. ice, we are looking at up to 1/2 inch of ice developing through the carolinas , and that's going to be brutally, it's going to be really crippling, and snowfall by wednesday morning. we're talking carolinas up to a foot and a half of snow. and that is going to be big problems for the southeast. we are talking about school closings, power outages, a real mess for the southeast through wednesday morning.

>> all right. we're going to check with you in a couple of minutes. thank you very much.