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Frostbite In Five Minutes: People Urged To Stay Indoors During Deadly Cold Snap

A ferocious cold snap bearing down on the US Midwest and Great Plains has left six people dead and all but closed down some major cities.

"I’ve been living here my whole life and it’s never been this cold," Alison Shoemaker resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan told 10 daily.

"They closed all schools and even universities for these two days, which they never do."

Water Freezes In Chicago
Residents have never experienced temperatures so cold. Image: Getty Images.

The cold snap, known as a polar vortex, has travelled down to the US from the Arctic Circle bringing with it temperatures colder than parts of Antarctica.

READ MORE: Chicago Is About To Get Colder Than Everest And Antarctica

Temperatures fell to -30C  in Chicago and -37C in North Dakota. It's estimated that 90 million Americans will experience below zero temperatures during the course of the cold snap.

20 million people are expected to experience temperatures 28 degrees below zero by the end of the week.

Chicago Cold Snap
Chicago braces for -50-degree temperatures. Image: Getty Images

States of emergency have been declared across a number of states including Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois, Alabama and Mississippi.

The BBC reports Grand Forks, North Dakota has seen the lowest wind chill in the country, when the temperatures fell to an unimaginable -54 degrees on Wednesday morning.

READ MORE: Does America's Extreme Cold Mean That Climate Change Is A Myth?

The National Weather Service has issued warnings to residents in the affected areas, telling them to keep their mouths closed when outdoors. They also warned people could be affected by frostbite within just five-10 minutes of stepping outside.

Bike Rider Commutes In The Cold
People have been told to keep their mouths closed if they have to go outside. Image: Getty Images.

"It’s absolutely crazy! They’ve been telling people not even to get gas because it’s too cold to wait outside," Shoemaker said.

"It’s so cold. Walking to your car literally hurts your face."

Cold SNap Turns Deadly With Six Declared Dead

The incredible cold has proven deadly with at least six people confirmed dead as a result of the freezing conditions.

On Wednesday, two people from Michigan were found dead in their local suburbs, with authorities saying they suspect one walked outside after becoming disoriented without dressing in proper protective clothing.

Frozen Eyelashes After Walking Near Lake Michigan
A man's eyelashes froze after walking near Lake Michigan. Image: Getty Images.

On Tuesday, a 55-year-old man froze to death in Milwaukee, Wisconsin after shovelling snow. NBC News reported that an 82-year-old man died of hypothermia outside his home in Pekin, Illinois.

Tragically, a 75-year-old man was killed on Monday by a snow plough near Chicago.

A police officer and his wife were killed when their car crashed on a snow and ice-covered road in northern Indiana.

Daily Life At A Stand Still As Cities Freeze

Hundreds of schools and universities have been closed over Wednesday and Thursday and the US postal service has been suspended in some parts of 10 states in the Great Plains and Midwest areas.

Shops Close Due To Cold Snap
Shops have closed for business due to the cold conditions. Image: Getty Images.

Farmers have also taken desperate measures to protect their livestock from the cold. The BBC reports some have built igloos for their animals. Animal rights organisation PETA has urged people to bring their pets indoors.

Meanwhile, police in Mclean, Illinois posted to Facebook saying they had arrested a person in relation to the cold temperatures.

Police 'arrested' Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen as a way to bring a little laughter to the very dire circumstances.

READ MORE: US Police Arrest Elsa From 'Frozen' For Bringing Polar Vortex To City

Elsa From Frozen Arrest
Elsa has been arrested. Image: Facebook/McLean Police Department.

Featured Image: Getty Images. 

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au