Polar Vortex Chills Americans to the Bone

States across the nation deal with extremely low temperatures.
3:00 | 01/07/14

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Transcript for Polar Vortex Chills Americans to the Bone
This is a special room. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- The weather outside well frightful the deep freeze pushing much of the country to record lows. ABC's Mary groups that fund and bone chilling weather I'm glad to see that you are bundled up Mary because a lot of correspondents are getting ripped forget they're not prepared for this. What's going on Washington. Well now. -- Aaron brought single digit temperatures to watching -- today. It's believed that that also were feeling right now would actually be considered warm by comparison to many people across the country. Much of the US resembling then North Pole today dangerous Arctic blast crippling the country. Plunging temperatures to record breaking lows fluid. And is not doing any good. What's the worst part about the -- -- one who wins even. I mean temperature right now -- you want to talk to attend the frost -- it's called polar vortex a whirlpool of frigid Arctic air. Bringing freezing temperatures to every state but Hawaii. Creating a frozen nightmare for travelers stranding commuters on the roads at airports and on the tracks. A Chicago family trapped in their car for more than fifteen hours. That's -- my husband -- bad the next trip that we take. Will definitely fly. But air travel is no better jetBlue Monday canceled all flights at four major East Coast -- some flights have resumed. Yeah I'm but it's sad that I mean it doesn't do any kids yet. Angry because there are so many in the same 500 Amtrak passengers stranded overnight outside Chicago. Their trains trapped by blowing drifting snow. Some amazing polar portraits of this winter -- -- Lake Michigan is steaming cold. The water far warmer than the freezing air water main break threatened to turned this Columbus, Ohio street into an ice rink. The deep -- shutting schools and icing fountain in the deep south. -- did just give you a sense of really how cold it is out here earlier today foolish attempt to stay warm. I brought out a cup of tea with me. Silly me though is now that's a thousand block of I think that only took about thirty minutes the frigid air here is -- bone chilling the winds. Are whipping and -- -- -- mentioned that this Arctic blast can also be extremely dangerous even a life threatening in some parts of the country right now. It'll take only five minutes. To get frost -- -- Dying now and and anything is when we make light of the fact that you now have iced tea but in fact it is of utmost concern for someone say yes there. Where you're out of -- talking to people because we have we did get plenty of warning honestly we knew what was gonna be cold it's January obviously these are unseasonably cold temperatures -- the same time up. When you're out talking to people in the streets -- -- do they select they took this seriously and we I think bottled up in layers as everyone ought to be. -- and there's cold and then there's what we're seeing now this is absolutely. Bitter. -- freezing cold and I think while people were prepared this is not the kind of temperature that we normally get in this part of the country so -- you can hear. News reporters saying that it's going to be feeling like -- in the negative it's a different thing to actually step outside your door and be faced with this shocking -- So people are getting a rude awakening to it but of course the most important thing you can do is to stay bundled up to not -- outsider to be exposed to this. Any more than you absolutely have to him. The -- has been echoed across the country all right Mary thank you get inside get warmed up saw the T out. I want to bring in Diane pat -- from ABC station to -- -- in Chicago for more on those Amtrak passengers that were stuck. And diet for nearly fifteen hours on the train. Yes some of them have been there for -- very long time over 500 of them. Three separate trains three separate Amtrak trains stuck on one track is the BN -- BNSF the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks. There's a huge snow -- that would right over the tracks trains including get through they tried climbing their way out it could not get past that they tried. Pulling these trains out nothing Seattle or 500 people some of them have been -- since 3 o'clock yesterday afternoon in very little food. Very little water they talk about. Very -- clean bathroom conditions on the east trains. And they had no place to go finally early early this morning Amtrak chartered. Buses to go and get these passengers put on -- black and their men -- -- Illinois -- about ninety miles away from Chicago. It got on the -- says -- finally brought those chartered buses here. To Chicago's Union Station what those passengers were able to get half the buses and finally able to reach their destination some of them. According this big plans. It's up to -- -- was supposed to be in a Chicago suburb to go to funeral she missed that funerals of very sad for a lot of people but everybody is doing okay today. So let me ask this -- because I. Obviously that those hasn't facilities are going to start to deteriorate after while because you can't have someone in there to maintain them. That's going to be the result of it but as far as he is far as power actually getting to the trains do we know I mean where he's -- like keep the lights on -- -- heaters going. So everything was on there was heat on the train is there was running water everything was. Pretty much safe it was a safe place to be admitted he had an option that was great wanted to be certainly don't want to be outside -- like forty below zero -- Yes they -- warm they had a good place to be they have places to sleep if they need to their worst restaurant sees -- they weren't the best conditions but it could've been a lot worse of these passengers definitely. No absolutely silly not to diminish the significance of the situation fifteen hours on a train is no -- no matter what your destination might be. What on Amtrak and expect any other delays because of the cold weather. So what they've decided to do is completely stop using the BNSF tracks for today all day today for the next Tony Broward they will not use those tracks. They've also canceled a couple of other trains Chicago to Saint Louis Chicago to Milwaukee. And some other areas that they've also cancels if you do have to -- Amtrak certainly shot before you get on those trying to sell. There are some changes they are making because of another day of extreme weather and of course are still -- debate -- up. One thing I want to mention how a lot of these passengers want to know what happens next up Amtrak's said that I got up create a case -- -- case up and they wanna hear from these passengers. They want to know what did they do wrong what did they do right if this ever happens again. What should they do next time -- at least Amtrak. Is opening up the discussion they want to make this right with all these passengers because they want these passengers to come back to Amtrak another time. Certainly of course and another -- -- and then sort of that the road to recovery for for all of that as well. -- -- -- I know that Chicago nicknamed the windy city guys are obviously not appreciating that today's five's. -- fellow midwesterner a party stock I know that you can appreciate the cold temperatures regardless how cold does it feels there right now. OK so actually today it's funny because we stepped out like hey this isn't that -- The actual temperature. It's three degrees below zero the actual temperature. Factor -- that windshield the real feel what it feels like to your skin and that's point kind of tearing up. It's negative twenty. This is actually some relief yesterday when we're standing out here it was 45. Below zero that was what it felt like self. Slowly but surely getting some relief but I'll take that negative -- actual temperature already -- -- fifteen Ani -- if you can believe that. I -- cutoff is guilty then and a half for keeping you out there any look at it you have -- diet pattern from -- -- Dallas Chicago thank you so much go inside get bundled up. So to get a little bit more on the bigger picture on this big -- I want to -- an -- -- radio with a look at this -- breaking records today I -- I would only assume we are. Now while we have there are many records that were broken this morning -- saying Washington DCMR record. By two degrees that was set back in 1884. But the core of the cold you heard the correspondent from WLS in Chicago. How would have -- a little bit now -- in the city warm but it's not as cold as it was yesterday because the -- the cold. Has now shifted in the parts of Ontario and come back in the bitter blast now is down into the southeast the bitter blast. Coming into the that into the east in the southeast that's where it is right now and that's where the worst of the cold is now you mentioned records. We did have quite a few record lows this morning around New York City LaGuardia JFK. Newark international Philadelphia broker -- record Baltimore Roanoke. Records were broken in Atlanta Charlotte and all the way down in the port -- peninsula Pensacola. In nineteen degrees right now and temperatures well they've -- a little bit but for the southeast this is still extremely cold. Remember the record the normal high temperature. In Atlanta I believe is in the lower to middle fifties were at seventeen degrees right now we'll get to a high temperature of 26 but notice freezing all the way down in the northern parts. Of all Florida along I ten all the way down in Miami now. It's 55 degrees but that's still a little chilly for that part of the country but you'll notice the cold. As we mentioned Chicago what's so called three below but at this point yesterday was about fifteen degrees below. All of this purple is still below zero and that goes right into the northeastern United States. To -- right now in Pittsburgh eight in New York City but as we mentioned the wind. That have to be factored in as well and this is what it feels like right now fifteen degrees below zero in New York City 25 below in Syracuse buffalo -- -- one below. -- whenever you get this cold air. Going over the warm water we've seen the pictures of the cold air going over Lake Michigan in Chicago when steam coming up. What you get bands of lake effect snow and we continue to see that. Right around buffalo right now snowing hard just south of the city although that is shifting into the city. And -- looking at snow amounts here downwind of Lake Erie and Ontario. Up a couple of feet before everything winds down as we go through tonight. But not all my news is bad because the polar vortex that's a big weather buzz word now. That's going to be lifting northward later this week so we are gonna warm things up across midwest and the East Coast. As we can't -- the weekend -- the worst of the cold for the east. Right now. Tomorrow still cold not as harsh we want things up later this -- -- not to add insult to injury but could you repeat that three to five feet of snow expected in some area -- -- five. Yet now keep -- -- that's lake effect that's going to be in a very small area but south of buffalo. -- parts of should talk look at -- -- county southern Erie county Wyoming county. Also in parts of Oswego county off Lake Ontario that lake effect snow it's like off a whole was. Only -- now you get this concentrated band and they are measuring the snow in feet they will do that. When things start to wind down off oblique injury tonight not until tomorrow morning in Lake Ontario -- the folks up there they've seen this before. -- they have sister for having spent some time reported in Syracuse -- -- -- make -- fact becomes a four letter word -- -- this time of the year. Bernie risk factors that Bernie thank you -- -- you guys are busy over that we appreciate your time. Obviously it is a bitter cold out today and it is certainly warming some hearts for some generosity take a look at this what one woman did these are peaking ducks in Ohio woman opened up her home to eight of them. There -- living on her property. Clearly enjoying. The warmth of the home she brought them in couldn't bear to see them freezing outside -- got -- cage about looks like some pretty fancy digs there. And she's wearing earplugs at night apparently the quacking so loud keeping her awake by. Generosity the benevolence in these cold temperatures complete recap right here at abcnews.com along with the forecast. And on Dan -- New York with the CBC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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