It snowed so much in Erie, Pennsylvania that even those sent to clear the roads had to be dug out. The more than 60 inches of snow is a new record for a city famous for its annual snowfall amounts.
Whiteout conditions forced the city to declare a snow emergency.
"It was higher than the snow blower," said resident John Pavlinko.
Traffic on Interstate 90 outside of the city was backed up for miles.
The same lake effect snow also buried Buffalo, New York.
And following the snow were sub-zero temperatures that made it dangerous to be outside.
"The girls wanted to go ice skating and we tried, but it's really cold," said Chicago area resident Callie Hill.
The record-breaking cold has already settled in from Colorado to Maine.
In Duluth, Minnesota, temperatures hit 21 degrees below zero with a wind chill of minus 44, causing steam and fog to rise from Lake Superior.
Treacherous ice and whiteout conditions sent dozens of cars spinning off highways and causing injuries.
Raul Rubalcava of Sandy, Oregon said he "lost control, did a 360, hit a car in the next lane and ended up here."
In Kansas, at least four people died after sliding off of the road
Snowfall totals in parts of the northeast could reach up to 6 feet. Meteorologists are warning the wind chill from the record cold can cause frostbite after as little as 30 minutes of exposure.
Wind chill advisories or warnings are in effect from North Dakota and Wisconsin across the Great Lakes to New England.