NBC News weather maps show current temperatures and wind chills across the Midwest and Northeast, as well as forecasts for Thursday.

The harsh, frigid weather that has been blamed for nine deaths so far will blast critically low temperatures across the Midwest for at least another day before conditions finally begin to warm up late Thursday, forecasters said.

The winter system, created by an extreme polar vortex, will continue to make life especially miserable for Chicago and the rest of the Great Lakes region on Thursday, said the National Weather Service, which forecast lake effect snow of 3 to 4 feet downwind of Lake Ontario.

Combined with the system's strong winds, blizzard conditions were expected across the region. But the weather service said the system would shift northward by Thursday afternoon, accompanied by a gradual warm-up.

The frigid, icy conditions have been blamed for as many as nine deaths so far:

  • A University of Iowa student was found dead behind a campus building early Wednesday in an incident the university said may have been weather-related.
  • A person was killed in extreme wind-chill conditions in Tazewell County, Illinois, on Tuesday, state emergency management officials said. The exact circumstances weren't immediately clear, and emergency officials provided no information about the victim.
  • An 82-year-old man died Tuesday afternoon after he was found suffering from hypothermia outside his home in Pekin, Illinois, the Peoria County Coroner's Office said.
  • A man was found frozen in a detached garage near his home in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, apparently after he had been shoveling snow, the county medical examiner's office said Tuesday.
  • A man was killed when he was struck by a city snowplow at the end of his driveway Monday morning in Libertyville, Illinois, southwest of Waukegan, city officials said. The snowplow driver was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
  • A 31-year-old man was killed Monday when he lost control of his vehicle, struck a light pole and was ejected on icy Interstate 80 north of Des Moines, Iowa. The state patrol said the man was driving too fast for conditions.
  • A 9-year-old Nebraska boy died Sunday when the vehicle he was traveling in lost traction on icy I-80 in Cass County, Iowa, and rolled into a ditch. Five other people were injured, the Iowa State Patrol said.
  • A 59-year-old man was found dead Tuesday in his driveway near the border of Delaware and Madison counties in Indiana. Delaware County Coroner Rick Howell said it appeared that the man fell outside his home.
  • An 87-year-old woman was also found dead outside her home Sunday in Delaware County, Indiana. Howell, the coroner, said he was awaiting toxicology reports on her and the man who died Tuesday.

Temperatures will again plummet to record or near-record lows Thursday over many parts of the wider Upper Midwest after a day in which Fargo, North Dakota, hit minus 31 degrees, Minneapolis reached minus 27 and Chicago fell to minus 23.

More than 1,500 arrivals and departures were canceled at Chicago O'Hare International Airport on Wednesday, and almost 1,400 of Thursday's arrivals and departures were scrubbed in advance.