The arctic blast that gripped much of the country early in the week began to retreat Wednesday, though the record-setting cold left much damage in its wake.
At least 21 deaths are blamed on the so-called Polar Vortex, which dropped temperatures to 30 degrees below zero in North Dakota and well below freezing all the way to the gulf states, according to The Weather Channel.
"The record-setting cold has brought the city to a standstill," said meteorologist Reynolds Wolf of The Weather Channel, in Chicago. "The Chicago River is frozen solid, but the streets are pretty clear. Life will be a little bit easier in the coming days as temperatures start to warm."
The low temps took a toll not only on peoples' bodies, but their heating bills as well.
Jack Weixel, director of energy analysis at Bentek Energy, told The Weather Channel that natural gas demand set a U.S. record Tuesday.
Air travelers saw a bit of a reprieve Wednesday as well, with just 400 flight delays and 600 cancellations reported by FlightAware.com, down from a peak of nearly 3,000 cancellations a day previously. So far this week there have been nearly 25,000 delays this week 11,000 cancellations.
The Polar Vortex, which resulted in places such as Anchorage, Alaska, having warmer temperatures than Atlanta, is getting forced back up where it belongs due to high pressure in the Southwest and Northeast, according to CNN meteorologist Jenny Harrison.
"It really is a snap, just a few days of that really, really cold air," she told CNN.
By the weekend, most temperatures are expected to revert to normal, with Atlanta rocketing from 7 degrees up to the 60s.
Temperatures will not rise as rapidly in the Northeast, which Harrison said is a good thing, as it prevents the massive flooding that would occur if the snow and ice thawed all at once.