There are signs the arctic blast is begining to tail off somewhat in the Midwest.

It got up to a balmy zero degrees in Chicago this afternooon and the mercury hit two in Minneapolis.  That ended Chicago's subzero streak at 37 hours.  Thermometers in Minneapolis were stuck below zero for 62 consecutive hours until today.

Extreme cold is being seen all over the country.  The National Weather Service says all 50 states this morning had at least one location where it was below freezing, including Hawaii, where Mauna Kea recorded a temperature of 21 degrees today.

The deep freeze over the eastern half of the country has been setting cold-weather records and disrupting travel for many as well.  The bitter cold has slowed baggage handling and aircraft refueling at airports, forcing airlines to cancel more than 2,000 flights today alone.  On the roads, powerful winds created snow drifts that have forced authorities to shut major highways, including a 75-mile stretch of Interstate 81 north of Syracuse, N.Y., to the Canadian border.

Meanwhile, the nation’s airlines continue to play catch-up following last week’s blizzard and this week’s extreme cold.  After cancelling all flights into and out of New York, New Jersey, and Boston Monday evening, JetBlue resumed operations at 10am, hoping to be back on schedule by the end of the day. 

At the JetBlue terminal at JFK there were a handful of travelers who were stuck because they missed connections on overseas flights.  Some were told they would probably not be taking off until Thursday or Friday.  Other airlines are also struggling to get cancelled passengers on flights by the end of the week.

That is also spilling over to Sacramento International where a number of flights have been cancelled and even more have been delayed.  If you're headed to the airport, make sure to check the status of your flight.

Click here to check your flight's status

In case the above hasn't painted the picture for you on just how cold the middle of the country's been,

an escapee from the Blackburn Correctional Complex in Kentucky is back in custody after nearly a day in the frigid cold.  Robert Vick escaped from the minimum-security prison Sunday night. 

However, he wasn't dressed for the cold.  He was only wearing his prison-issued pants, shirt and jacket. 

He turned himself in Monday evening.

THAT'S chilly.