• At least 11 people have died from the extreme weather caused by the polar vortex or accidents related to it.
  • Some were killed by the cold outside their homes, while others were involved in road accidents.
  • The polar vortex has brought life-threatening cold and conditions that can give people frostbite in as little as five minutes.
  • Authorities are taking extra measures to help the elderly and homeless, as windchill temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Fahrenheit have been recorded.
At least 11 people across several states have died as a polar vortex brings record-low temperatures to the US.
polar vortex chicago satelliteThe weather system, which stretches from New York to Montana, has brought temperatures lower than those recorded in Antarctica, and officials have warned of getting frostbite from spending as little as five minutes outside.
Here is a breakdown of the deaths reported so far:
  • University of Iowa student Gerald Belz was found on campus Wednesday morning and later died in the hospital, The Associated Press reported. Officials have linked the death to extreme cold.
  • An unnamed 70-year-old man was found dead outside his Detroit home Wednesday and may have frozen to death, according to the Detroit Free Press.
  • Another unnamed man was found dead outside in Michigan without a hat or gloves. He was a former member of the city council in the town of Ecorse, the Detroit Free Press reported.
  • An 82-year-old man died after he was found with hypothermia outside of his home in Illinois, NBC News affiliate Week reported.
  • 55-year-old Charley Lampley was found frozen in a garage near his home in Wisconsin on Tuesday. People magazine said he was shoveling snow outside his home before he was found.
  • A 75-year-old man died in suburban Chicago on Monday when he was hit by a snowplow, police said. The man was not named.
  • A man and a woman died on Monday when their SUV struck another vehicle on a snow-covered road in Indiana, the AP reported, naming them as 22-year-old Ethan Kiser and 21-year-old Shawna Kiser.
  • A 59-year-old man was found dead outside his home in Indiana on Tuesday. The country coroner said it appeared the man fell outside his home, NBC News reported.
  • Another unnamed person was killed by extreme windchill in Tazewell County, Illinois, according to emergency officials cited by NBC.
  • A 9-year-old boy died on Sunday in Iowa when the vehicle he was traveling in lost traction on an icy road and went into a ditch,NBC said.
  • A 50-year-old woman died on Monday when a semitrailer rear-ended the car she was in. CNN reported that the state patrol said the roads were icy at the time.
  • A 31-year-old man died in Iowa on Monday when his car crashed into a telephone pole. Officials said he was driving too fast for the conditions, CNN reported.

chicago frozen lake polar vortex
A man walking along Chicago's lakefront on Wednesday, when temperatures hovered around minus 20 degrees.
 Scott Olson/Getty Images

Warnings as temperatures break records

Twenty million people in the continental US are expected to experience temperatures of minus 18 degrees Fahrenheit or lower by the end of the week, the BBC reported.
The temperatures are setting records: The all-time-lowest temperature in Illinois — minus 37 degrees — was recorded in Aurora on Wednesday night.
And it feels even colder in many places when windchill is taken into account. Windchill figures are lower than actual temperature to reflect the way moving air strips away heat faster than still air.
The actual temperature in DeKalb, Illinois, at midnight on Tuesday was minus 13 degrees, but the windchill meant it felt like minus 42 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

polar vortex snow cold weather
A woman walking through the snowstorm in New York City's Times Square on Wednesday.
 REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Windchill temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees have been recorded this week.
The weather service is monitoring whether a new record-low temperature will be recorded in Chicago.
The weather service and other services have been advising the public on ways to stay safe, including wearing extra layers to prevent frostbite.
Authorities are warning of the life-threatening temperatures.

homeless man cold snow polar vortex freezing
A homeless man sitting in the falling snow during the polar vortex in New York City's financial district on Wednesday.
 Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Tuesday that the vortex had brought "life-threatening conditions and temperatures."
Weather service forecaster Jim Hayes warned that the conditions could create a "very dangerous situation."