Forecasters say the Arctic front will start moving across New York on Wednesday

Polar vortex hits North America – in pictures;.

Schools have been closed amid plummeting conditions, including in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Tens of millions of people across the United States are bracing for a blast of cold weather that forecasters have warned could be life-threatening.

With temperatures set to drop to once-in-a-generation lows here is a selection of some of the best photographs.

A state of emergency has been declared in the Midwestern states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois.

Other states not quite used to cold temperatures, including Mississippi and Alabama, are also preparing for cold conditions and snowfall.

Forecasters predict that Chicago, one of the country’s busiest cities, could get colder than Antarctica in the coming days.

Man in street looks at camera in large coat, and fur hood and hat
A man in Chicago, Illinois, wraps up for the sub-zero temperatures
A thermometer shows temperature of around -20 degrees F
Forecasters say the weather system could bring temperatures as low as -53C (-64F)

Thousands of flights were cancelled on Tuesday and further travel disruption in coming days is expected.

Officials in a number of states have opened shelters as police search for people most at risk from cold conditions.

Frostbite could be possible within 10 minutes of exposure to the extreme weather, the National Weather Service has warned.

A woman in Minneapolis bundled up in ski gear
Tess McNamara, from Minneapolis, had to bundle up in an outfit more suited to skiing on Tuesday
A woman walks past a mural of a woman eating ice cream
It’s certainly not ice-cream weather this week in Detroit, Michigan

Schools in several states have announced blanket closures already.

“If you don’t have to be outside, don’t,” meteorologist Amy Seeley warned Chicago residents.

A boy smiles and plays in the snow
The strong snow has pleased some, including nine-year-old Kamaire Styles from Colorado

The weather system has also blanketed parts of Canada – prompting warnings of “hazardous” driving conditions and risks to health.

Record-breaking snowfall levels of 93cm (36in) were recorded at Ottawa airport on Tuesday.

A man walks his dogs in the snow on a cold winter day in Montreal
A man walks his dogs through deep snow in Montreal
Smoke from a steam vent is photographed in New York city street
Forecasters say the Arctic front will start moving across New York on Wednesday

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