Arctic blast brings snow, ice and bone-chilling temps across U.S.

At least four people in the Midwest have been killed in crashes in which officials say weather was a factor.

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By Janelle Griffith and Tim Stelloh

An arctic blast bringing snow, ice and bone-chilling temperatures to tens of millions of people across the United States this week has already proved fatal.

At least four people died Monday in the Midwest as a surge of Arctic air moved east to the Gulf and East coasts. Authorities in Michigan and Kansas attributed the deaths to poor road conditions.

The National Weather Service said it expected temperatures to plunge Wednesday.

"This will make it feel like in the middle of winter rather than in November for much of the eastern two-thirds of the country for the next few days," it said.

In Kansas, a child was killed in a head-on car crash south of Kansas City on Monday morning when the driver of a pickup lost control on an icy highway and crossed the center line. The truck hit an SUV, killing a girl, 8, and injuring three other people.

In Michigan, authorities said three people were killed in a two-car crash outside Lansing on Monday morning.

The victims included a man, 57, and two women, 64 and 81, the Eaton County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

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In Chicago, record temperatures were recorded for November when the mercury dropped to 7 degrees, as snow and ice grounded air traffic. More than 2,000 incoming and outgoing flights at O'Hare International Airport had been delayed or canceled as of Monday night, according to the tracking site Flight Aware, as delays continued Tuesday morning.

The average incoming delay was just over six hours, while outgoing flights were behind by more than 16 hours Monday night, according to the site.

On Monday morning, a plane trying to land at O'Hare International Airport slid off the runway. None of the 38 passengers and three crew members aboard an Envoy Air flight from Greensboro, North Carolina, were hurt, according to The Associated Press.

Wisconsin saw record breaking temperatures Tuesday morning, as people on their way to work felt below zero wind chills, the Green Bay National Weather Service reported.

In New York City, temperatures are expected to plunge below freezing on Tuesday afternoon, andemergency management officials pleaded with residents to be cautious on the roads and to watch out for signs of hypothermia.

Across Missouri, snow and ice were already causing havoc on the state's roads. Authorities responded to dozens of crashes and stranded drivers Monday, NBC affiliate KSHB reported.

Among them was a K9 deputy in Clay County, north of Kansas City, who'd stopped to help a driver who slid off the road, the sheriff's office said. No one was injured.

In Dallas, where a bitter wind chill was driving temperatures into the 20s, officials reminded pet owners to take extra care of their dogs and cats.

“Don’t be fooled by your pet’s fur coat,” said Ed Jamison, director of Dallas Animal Services, in a news release.

Even those thick coats can’t withstand a deep freeze, Jamison said, imploring people to make sure their animals remain inside.

In Kentucky, where forecasters were calling for light snow followed by bone-chilling record lows, university students in Lexington broke out their winter weather gear early to get to class, NBC affiliate WLEX reported.

Others were dreading the prospect of a 13-degree day Wednesday.

“It makes me want to stay in bed and not go to class,” one student told the station. “But that’s not really an option.”

Vermont and Upstate New York weren't spared either, as the Lake Champlain area saw over 8 inches of snow in some areas.

Meanwhile, another round of snow was trailing close behind, forecasters said. A chance of snow, sleet and rain was expected across the Pacific Northwest and into the Rockies beginning Tuesday night.

"The precipitation will likely move into the northern Plains in the form of snow early on Wednesday," the National Weather Service said.

Ben Kesslen contributed.