MONTPELIER, Vt. – Northeasterners got socked Thursday with the same subzero temperatures — more than 30 below zero in some spots — that brought teeth-chattering misery to the nation's midsection for much of the week.
"This is Vermont," said Bradley Reed, fire captain in St. Johnsbury, where it was 18 below early Thursday. "Sometimes, it's worse than this. We take it for what it is and hope and pray we get the warmer weather soon."
The bitter cold stretched from Montana to Maine and as far south as North Carolina, driving people to pile on layers upon layers if they had to go out, and keeping some children home from school to avoid the low temperatures.
In northern Maine, a low of 38 below zero was recorded at Depot Mountain in a sparsely populated area near the border with Canada, and it was 32 below in Fort Kent.
It was cold enough to shut down Vermont's Bolton Valley ski resort and the Big Rock ski area in Mars Hill, Maine. But for many, it was business as usual, although perhaps at a slower pace.
"You pretty much have to grin and bear it. We've been cold before," said Justin Dubois, manager of Quigley's Building Supply in Fort Kent, Maine. "In all honesty, 30 below doesn't seem a lot different from 20 below. They're both very cold."
Asked what Floridians might think of the extreme cold, he responded, "You have to understand that we don't have hurricanes and tornadoes — but we do get 200 inches of snow and cold weather."
In Michigan, the temperature in Pellston, in the northern Lower Peninsula, dropped to 25 below zero overnight, while in upstate New York, low temperatures Thursday morning included 2 in Buffalo and 25 below zero in Massena. New York City, where light snow fell overnight, saw lows in the teens.
The extreme cold was especially hard for outdoor workers like Allen Lockrow, who was up before dawn to deliver food and supplies to restaurants around Albany, N.Y.
"You wear a lot of clothes, a T-shirt, four layers of sweat shirts, a fleece and a coat," Lockrow said as he made a delivery at an Albany mall. He also wore two pairs of socks under his work boots and ear muffs under his hat.
The air temperature was 29 degrees below zero in Glenwood, Minn., on Thursday morning, with the wind chill making it a staggering 54 degrees below zero. It was 20 degrees below zero at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, with a wind chill of 37 below.
The town of Clinton, Iowa, was that state's frigid spot overnight at 27 below zero. It hit 15 below zero early Thursday in Des Moines, the coldest there since 1996, said Craig Cogil of the National Weather Service.
Across the region, schools in hundreds of communities were closing or starting late because of the bitter cold. Akron, Ohio, was one of the cities were schools were closed all day.
In southwest Ohio, Butler County reopened its former jail as an emergency shelter, with room for about 40 people to have a blanket, meal and shower, said Lt. Nick Fischer of the sheriff's office.
The frigid conditions caused complications for highway managers because road salt doesn't melt ice in subzero temperatures.
"Once we get into minus 10, minus 20, in some cases we have to go to just straight sand, a light dusting of sand, on the highway to get some grit, provide some traction," said Mike Flick a transportation worker in Pamelia, N.Y.
The Indiana State Police banned some large trucks from the Indiana Toll Road because of hazardous weather conditions. On Wednesday, two people died in a 20-vehicle pileup in near-blizzard conditions on the Toll Road, and a third person died in a highway crash in Gary. There were also at least three crash fatalities in Ohio.
The cold was pushing southward, where even northern Georgia and Kentucky could see single-digit lows by Friday, with zero possible at Lexington, Ky., the weather service warned. Kentucky hasn't been that cold since December 2004.
In Cleveland, where it was snowing and 10 degrees at lunchtime Wednesday, Terry Gill, 23, was bundled up with four layers of clothes. He had a secret for staying warm.
"I just try not to think about it," Gill said while waiting for a bus in a shelter surrounded by piles of snow from nearly 17 inches that have fallen in one week. "I mean, it's cold. That's Cleveland weather."