(State College, PA) - The bitterly cold temperatures and heavy lake-effect snow are combining to create chaotic conditions across the eastern half of the nation. An Alberta Clipper on Tuesday will add to the weather mess, bringing snow to areas from the upper Plains to the mid-Atlantic states.

Rail and air travel has been curtailed, highway travel around the Great Lakes is treacherous, schools have been closed, water mains have burst and people and animals run the risk of exposure that could lead to frostbite or hypothermia.

The coldest temperatures not only this winter but in several years has enveloped a significant part of the country. High temperatures today along the East Coast ran as much as 30° below normal for the first week of February.

Strong northwest winds produced by high pressure over the northern Plains and a storm system over Eastern Canada continued to create RealFeel® temperatures that feel much colder than the actual temperatures.

The bitterly cold temperatures this week could lead to frostbite after brief exposure and hypothermia from prolonged exposure to the cold air and strong winds. Pets can suffer the same effects of humans when exposed to the cold. Dogs can injure the pads on their paws while walking on the frozen ground and cats will climb onto a warm car engine to stay warm if they are left outside.