MISSOURI – As bitter cold temperatures swept across the country on Thursday, nearly half of the country got a taste of winter.

St. Louis reached a windchill of at least minus-32 late Thursday evening. For several other U.S. states, it was much of the same story.

“It goes from Oklahoma all the way to Wyoming and Wyoming to Maine,” said U.S. President Joe Biden.

Subzero temperatures were common amid the arctic blast, making even those accustomed to colder weather look for a break from the dangerous wind chills .

In Seattle, crews chopped icicles of an interstate as cars pass by. The city’s airport cancelled 200 flights on Tuesday. At Denver’s International Airport, a plane on the tarmac could hardly be seen Thursday through whiteout conditions. At Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports, extra workers brought in to help with the influx of holiday travelers. 

“We have 500 staff members who are ready to work 24/7 and 350 pieces of snow removing equipment,” said Karen Pride. “The airlines are prepared to deice their aircraft.”

The freezing weather, a first real test for the Lone Star State since a historic freeze cut power to millions nearly two years ago.

“The grid is ready and reliable,” said Peter Lake, the commission chairman for Texas Public Utility. “We expect to have sufficient generation to meet demand throughout this entire winter weather event.”

According to FlightAware more than 2,000 flights cancelled throughout the country Thursday. Some travelers lucky enough to reschedule. Still, thousands more hoping for a Christmas miracle to make it home on time.