Eight people have lost their lives in the US as temperatures continue to plummet well below freezing. Experiencing the coldest weather in decades, hospitals are treating hundreds of people for frost bite and police forces are struggling to cope with the influx of emergency calls following collisions.

It is thought at least 250 million Americans have experienced the Polar Vortex with temperatures across much of the country reaching below -170C. Chicago has recorded temperatures as low as -340C.

As well as icy conditions and bitter winds, the US is expecting to receive 3-5inches of snowfall per hour in the next coming days especially in the state of New York.

Understandably residents are confining themselves to their homes to escape the conditions; however gas companies are urging Americans to only keep their thermostat at 170C to help cope with the demand.

Currently, some public transport is unable to operate and the roads are becoming un-drivable as previous snowfall begins to freeze. Also, over 2,000 flights have been cancelled and a further 3,500 have been delayed.

It is not yet known when the temperatures will begin to rise again, but for the coming days residents are being advised to remain alert and only travel if it is necessary.

Over night parts of the UK has experienced heavy snowfall, with motorists near Seaford, East Sussex, having to abandon their vehicles and seek alternative transport home – most by foot.

It is thought road conditions across Kent and Sussex will worsen throughout the day as many people attempt to commute to work. Those travelling by train should be aware several services have been cancelled as train companies opt for their winter weather timetable and it is likely some flights will be delayed or cancelled.

If a flight is cancelled due to the snow, it will be classed as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’ and passengers will not be entitled to compensation. Having said that, it is the airlines responsibility to either re-book the flight or provide a full refund but passengers must check with their individual airline. Here is how to not find yourself out of pocket.