Nightly News   |  January 07, 2014

Big Chill: US Gripped by Coldest Day in Decades

It’s below freezing in each of the 50 states, including the Deep South where the cold has already shattered records.

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

>>> good evening. today it was below freezing, at least somewhere in each of the 50 states . that doesn't happen often, and yes, even hawaii where it was 25 this morning near the summit of a volcano. in new york, it hasn't been this cold since 1896 . in cleveland, you'd have to go back to 1884 . in asheville, north carolina , the old record was set in 1879 . again tonight it's not just the 25 below zero temperatures in minnesota making news, it's the dangerous cold in the deep, deep south making news, like 6 degrees in atlanta, georgia. it's been record shattering cold, straining power grids , cancelling thousands of flights and forcing people to find warmth. we have it covered again with kevin tibbles in chicago . kevin , good evening.

>> reporter: brian, it is day two here in chiberia. and across the frozen chicago river behind me, and across most of this nation, this arctic grip is not letting go. sub-zero, bone chilling wind whipping cold. stomping down on much of the lower 48 for another frigid day. from the air, chicago blanketed in arctic splendor. on the ground, javier pushed through his first day as a courier in the windy city .

>> you can't play with this weather, you'll literally die.

>> reporter: just one of tens of thousands braving the elements to make a living. even keeping others warm.

>> i have to provide a city with electric.

>> reporter: black ice in minnesota got the best of this car, toppling off a bridge. the driver escaped without serious injury. still, there have been dozens of wrecks across the country, and officials are urging folks to take it easy out there. hundreds of truckers are stranded in indiana, forces off highways, too dangerous to navigate. aaa facing a tsunami of calls. today the job was breathing new life into frozen engines.

>> thank you.

>> thank you.

>> thank you.

>> airports not faring any better. thousands of delays and cancellations, de-icing the order of the day . arriving passengers at washington's reagan national this afternoon, found baggage claim to be a soggy business. a burst pipe released hundreds of gallons of water, flooding the american airlines claim area. in toronto, canada, the airport was shut down completely. stranding thousands with mountains of luggage and lots of frustration. hundreds of amtrak passengers were bussed to chicago . after spending the night aboard a train stuck some 80 miles from the station.

>> it was safer to leave passengers on the train with full hotel systems, trying to transfer people through a trench in the snow at minus five temperatures.

>> reporter: as the sun came up in atlanta, the temperature didn't. in the sunshine state , people bundled up, donning their northern gear. and the cold helped nab a fugitive in kentucky, as escaped inmate robert vick turned himself in. too cold on the lam. this picture of hell, michigan says it all, yes, it's frozen over. good news tonight for parents, if not for kids, gradually warming temperatures means that schools will be open here in chicago , and many other places tomorrow. as for jet blue airlines that grounded all its flights in the northeast yesterday, those planes were back in the air today. brian?

>> a cold kevin tibbles along the cold chicago river to start us off tonight. thanks again.