January 9, 2014 2:24 PM EST

1 Thrill seekers carry sleds through Montrose Beach Park in Chicago, where temperatures plunged to -16°F (-42°F with windchill)

2 A woman walks through a blizzard in downtown Chicago

3 Snow flurries virtually eclipse the Chicago skyline, seen here from a frozen Lake Michigan

4 Firefighters catch their breath after battling a four-alarm fire overnight in North Attleboro, Mass., where temperatures dropped below 0°F

5 A homeless man endures frigid temperatures in Washington

6 Buildings and power lines in Scituate, Mass., are encased in ice produced by ocean spray

7 The banks of Lake Michigan in Milwaukee remain frozen after days of subzero temperatures

8 Pedestrians in Toronto, where temperatures hit approximately -5°F, battle frigid air during their morning commute

9 A crew works to deice a plane at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, where more than 3,000 flights were canceled because of the weather

This appears in the January 20, 2014 issue of TIME.

Contact us at letters@time.com.

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