Dangerous cold gripped the Midwest and Northeast on Wednesday, and even more snow was on the way for some places.
Winter weather watches were in place across 17 states from Montana to Maine, an area inhabited by 120 million Americans. The storm was carrying gusty winds, and wind-chill forecasts neared minus-50 in northern Minnesota, minus-42 in Fargo, North Dakota, and minus-28 in Chicago.
It will be "ridiculously cold," said Ari Sarsalari, a forecaster for The Weather Channel. He warned that exposed skin can freeze in as little as 15 minutes in those conditions.
Ann Beatty, a letter carrier in Plattsburgh, New York, where wind chills were expected to drop to 25 to 35 degrees below zero, was already planning for her seven hours of work outside.
Beatty gathered "extra socks, gloves, hats, rain gear, an extra pair of boots in case yours get wet," she told NBC station WPTZ. "There's nothing worse than wet feet."
Earlier this week, a winter weather system raced across the country and dropped snow from the Pacific Northwest to the Northeast. Forecasters called for even more through Friday, much of it lake-effect snow.