ARUN RATH, HOST:
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.
December is off to a rough start. Temperatures are dipping below freezing from sea to icy sea. In parts of north Texas, four inches of ice was reported on highways. In Philadelphia, the Lions and Eagles game was played in a near whiteout. Even here in Southern California, where it's usually very sunny, temperatures have dipped down to near-record lows, which relatively speaking still isn't all that bad. In fact, Jimmy Kimmel pointed it out.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!")
RATH: But as NPR's Nathan Rott reports, the deep freeze is real in other parts of the country, and it's causing real problems.
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: If you think it's cold where you are, meet Sara Iverson.
SARA IVERSON: Hello?
ROTT: Hello. Is this Sara?
IVERSON: This is.
ROTT: Sara, how are you?
IVERSON: I'm good.
ROTT: She's a waitress at the D&R Cafe on Central Street in Bagley, Minnesota. It's cold there.
IVERSON: It is so cold, yes.
ROTT: So cold?
IVERSON: With wind chill. And yesterday it was 53 below.
ROTT: Fifty-three degrees below zero.
IVERSON: Below zero. Yesterday was one of our coldest, yeah.
ROTT: Fifty-three below is on the outer edge of the cold weather, but it's not unique. In Montana, temperatures dipped under 40 below. In Michigan, it was well under zero. Move further south and it's still cold.
KELSEY ANGLE: Yeah. It's been cold all across the Plains and into the Rockies, and that's - it's going to stay this way for a little while.
ROTT: Kelsey Angle is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Kansas City. When the weather was hovering at about 20 degrees earlier today, he says the cold is due to an Arctic air mass that has been hovering over the middle of the country. It's also causing the winter weather that has coated Central Texas to Pittsburgh in snow.
ANGLE: The colder Arctic air mass has interacted with some warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. And it has produced some freezing rain.
ROTT: This afternoon, that freezing rain has moved east into Virginia and up the Eastern Seaboard. Angle says that's where the most extreme winter weather is expected to hit and stick through the early parts of the week. But he says people in the Midwest shouldn't expect a break anytime soon either.
ANGLE: Yeah, we're looking for below-normal temperatures to continue across at least the central portion of the country at least until December the 18th.
ROTT: So his advice? Bundle up. Nathan Rott, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.