INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Frigid air that snapped decades-old records will make venturing outside dangerous for a second straight day, this time spreading to southern and eastern parts of the U.S. and keeping many schools and businesses shuttered. Meanwhile, residents driven from their homes by power outages in the Midwest worried about burst pipes.
Monday's subzero temperatures broke records in Chicago, which set a record for the date at minus 16, and Fort Wayne, Ind., where the mercury fell to 13 below. Records also fell in Oklahoma and Texas, and wind chills across the region were 40 below and colder. Officials in states like Indiana already struggling with high winds and more than a foot of snow urged residents to stay home if they could.
"The cold is the real killer here," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said Monday as he asked schools and businesses to remain closed another day. "In 10 minutes you could be dead without the proper clothes."
The polar air will next invade the East and South on Tuesday, bringing with it the prospect of more records falling. Highs in the single digits were expected in Georgia and Alabama, and wind chill warnings stretched as far south as Florida, with forecasts calling for minus 10 in Atlanta and minus 12 in Baltimore.
In downtown Louisville, Ky., where wind chills dropped to 22 below zero Monday, John Tyler gathered with friends at a McDonald's. The self-described homeless man spent Sunday night sleeping on the street.
Dressed in a sweatshirt, two coats and a black woolen cap, Tyler said there's no way to adequately prepare for this kind of cold.
"How we're dealing with it? You can't deal with it," Tyler said. "There's no way you can deal with it."
Forecasters said some 187 million people in all could feel the effects of the "polar vortex" by the time it spreads across the country. Tennessee utility officials braced for near-record power demand, while Ohio prepared for its coldest temperatures in decades.