AP Photos: This is what it looks like as winter blasts the US into a deep freeze

Winter turned its icy glare on the U.S. this week, blanketing cities and states from east to west with snow and sending temperatures into an Arctic spiral.

In Buffalo, New York, residents trekked through at least 18 inches of new snow that fell on top of the three feet that had arrived over the weekend. Heavy lake-effect snow shut down city hall, canceled school in several districts and led to travel bans across multiple suburbs.

In Oregon, trees crashed down on cars and homes — forcing residents in Lake Oswego and state forestry workers in Portland to navigate clean-up at the same time they were still struggling with power outages brought on by a previous storm.

Frost crept up cafe windows in New Orleans. Blades of grass hardened into icicles as snow fell and temperatures dropped in Houston, Texas.

In Chicago, an elderly man warmed his hands near a fire he built across the street from a homeless encampment.

Good Samaritans in Nashville pushed stranded motorists and their vehicles to safety after a storm caked roadways with up to eight inches of snow.

But while millions of Americans hunkered down away from the sub-zero temperatures, others set out for snowball fights and sledding expeditions.

Pedestrians braved the cold while walking in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and children sailed down snow drifts at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

And steam rising off of Lake Michigan in Chicago drew would-be photographers, bundled up and enjoying the view as winter settled in.