FEMA monitoring extreme weather, White House says

Ice builds up along Lake Michigan at North Avenue Beach as temperatures dipped well below zero on January 6, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago hit a record low of -16 degree Fahrenheit this morning as a polar air mass brought the coldest temperatures in about two decades into the city.  Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is monitoring the record-breaking cold temperatures that have blanketed much of the country, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday. So far, however, there have been no requests for federal assistance.

“The president is certainly aware of the dramatic weather that parts of the country have been experiencing,” he said. FEMA has been in contact with state, local and tribal partners, and “if there is an issue that requires federal assistance, they'll be on top of it.”

The Lower 48 states reached an average low of 13.8 degrees overnight Monday, according to Weather Bell Analytics. The extreme weather has created some dangerous traveling conditions and has been blamed for several deaths in the Midwest.

“We urge residents to be safe and to follow directions from local officials,” Carney said. “Depending on the state, depending on the region, local officials have the best insight when it comes to what's the right thing, the safe thing to do.”

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