The United States is grappling with a brutal Arctic cold wave that has swept across the nation, plunging temperatures to extreme lows and disrupting daily life. In Memphis, Tennessee, the situation has become critical as residents are left without water and are advised to boil water for safe use.

The freezing temperatures have led to the bursting of water mains across Memphis, significantly impacting the water supply. The city’s utility company, Memphis Light, Gas & Water, has urged its over 400,000 customers to boil water before using it for drinking or brushing teeth to avoid contamination.

The harsh weather conditions have been linked to numerous fatalities across the country, many resulting from hypothermia and road accidents. The cold wave follows a week of storms that have already claimed at least 61 lives in the U.S.

Local businesses, like the Four Way Grill in Memphis, have been forced to close, adding economic strain to the weather-induced challenges. The city has been working tirelessly to address the crisis, with more than 100 employees volunteering to identify and repair the leaks.

The impact of the cold wave is widespread, with wind chill advisories extending from Montana to central Florida. The Midwest is experiencing some of the harshest conditions, with wind chills making it feel as low as minus 16 degrees Fahrenheit in places like Iowa City.

Homeless shelters, like the non-profit Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City, are providing refuge to those most vulnerable to the cold. David Overholser, a resident of the shelter, expressed the difficulties faced during this period, especially for those not accustomed to such cold weather.

In addition to the immediate effects, the cold wave poses a risk of falling ice as the region thaws, creating hazardous conditions. Thousands have been left without power in parts of Oregon’s Willamette Valley due to storm damage.

The National Weather Service forecasts a potential rise in temperatures across most of the country next week. However, until then, residents are urged to take necessary precautions and stay informed about the developing situation.