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TODAY   |  February 25, 2014

Temperatures in Midwest drop whopping 30 degrees

Driven by the polar vortex, temperatures are diving 30 degrees below normal across the Midwest. Tens of millions bundle up to deal with the latest round of frigid air. NBC’s Dylan Dreyer reports.

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>>> with our top story, the polar vortex is at it again as tens of millions bundle up to deal with the latest round of frigid air. dylan dreyer is about an hour south of chicago . good morning to you.

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. those are easily two words we could've gone the rest of this winter without hearing again. but take a look at some of these massive sheets of ice here along the banks of the river. it was the weekend thaw that broke up this ice and then the river carried it and dropped it onshore. and now that we are in the next deep freeze and the next polar vortex , that next thaw for better or for worse could be a long ways off. here we go again in the midwest. back to the deep freeze , with huge ice jams creating big concerns about future flooding.

>> lived here 20 years, and this is the worst it's been.

>> along the allegheny river north of pittsburgh, check out the ice bolders.

>> last time i saw pictures like this was when i was a kid.

>> definitely taking their toll.

>> when i hear the forecast, i want to scream.

>> reporter: this winter's already one for the books. 50 billion, the hit to the economy nationwide thanks to what's being called freezenomics. 19, that's the average temperature in chicago since december 1st . 22, the number of days the thermometer has dipped below zero in chicago . and 23, that's how many more days there are in winter.

>> i'll be glad when it's gone.

>> i'm ready for it to warm up.

>> here's a weather envy alert. in miami, they're swimming in sunshine. something people getting yet another dose of frigid temperatures can only dream about.

>> tropical vacation, every february.

>> remember, 23 more days in winter. and i am counting those days down. but about 8 miles upstream, there's an even bigger ice jam . and once the next thaw happens, that's going to break up and races downstream and it takes anything in its path with it. so that is going to be a huge concern. but, again, guys, that next thaw could be weeks away. yes, weeks.

>> dylan, thank you so much in wilmington, illinois, this morning.

>> weeks.

>> well, certainly where we see a significant thaw. because this thing is going to continue to reinforce itself. and, of course, if we don't have enough of a problem with canada, here's where it starts off. this is a conspiracy, ladies and gentlemen ! first the hockey, now the polar vortex . this -- look at these temperatures, minus 24 in yellowknife, 31 below in sutherland. this arctic air gets the green light to come in, the polar vortex allows it to make its way down to the south. and so we are looking at brutally cold temperatures at least until monday. for our highs today, minneapolis, 7, chicago , it's going to be 20, 24 in cleveland, feels like 15 degrees below or should be 15 degrees warmer. and then to the south, the good news is, you've got fairly warm temperatures, new orleans, 72, jacksonville, 79. not so fast. by thursday, it dips to the south. tallahassee at 39, atlanta's at 25. here comes the cold air. the really cold stuff. buffalo at 10, pittsburgh, 20, and look at what happens to minneapolis. 10 below for a high, 23 in international falls . we've got another arctic air mass behind that. so, guys, there is no relief in sight. my feeling is, we should boycott canadian bacon .

>> don't say that.

>> just a joke.

>> we've got to get back before it gets any further.

>> i'm done with my jet lag !

>> feels good, doesn't it?

>> yes, it does.