(NEW YORK) -- A dangerous deep freeze is blasting the Northeast and Midwest, where record-breaking cold temperatures are paralyzing cities and communities.
At least eight people have died in connection with the coldest weather in decades across the Northern Plains and Midwest.
The wind chill in Chicago plunged to minus 52 on Wednesday -- the coldest wind chill since 1985. It was minus 55 in Minneapolis, also the coldest wind chill since 1985.
The latest temps
The bone-chilling temperatures are unrelenting in the Midwest, where the actual temperatures -- not wind chills -- were in the minus 20s and minus 30s.
Record low temperatures were recorded in Chicago: minus 21 degrees; Madison, Wisconsin: minus 26 degrees; and Milwaukee: minus 23 degrees.
On the East Coast, New York City fell to an actual temperature of 2 degrees -- the coldest temperature there in three years.
Philadelphia reached a temperature of 5 degrees with a wind chill of minus 11 -- the coldest so far this winter.
Boston also fell to 5 degrees 5 with a wind chill of minus 16 -- the worst so far for the year.
Dangerous and deadly
University of Iowa student Gerald Blez, who was studying medicine, died Wednesday, the university said. His cause of death is believed to be weather-related, officials said, according to ABC affiliate KCRG. The wind chill at the time was minus 51 degrees, KCRG said.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a 55-year-old man was "cold and frozen" when he was found dead in a garage near a snow shovel Tuesday, a medical examiner's office official said.
Another man was killed by a snowplow in Libertyvile, Illinois, local police said.
States left paralyzed
The weather has wreaked havoc on transportation.
Amtrak Midwest corridor services are shuttered in Chicago, ground stops were put in place for extended periods at New York City area airports and the Buffalo airport canceled most of its flights Wednesday.
Classes were also canceled at major universities, including the University of Chicago, Northwestern, University of Wisconsin - Madison and the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor.
The core of the coldest air lifts north back to Canada by Friday, but wind chills are still going to be very low.
Friday wind chills are forecast to clock in at minus 16 degrees in Minneapolis; minus 4 in Chicago; minus 8 in Detroit; minus 4 in Boston; and 3 in New York City.
By the weekend, some areas will feel like its almost 100 degrees warmer than it is now.
In Chicago, where wind chills were in the minus 50s Wednesday, residents will warm up to temperatures in the 40s.
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