Winter barreled across the U.S. like a ton of bricks last week, ushering in a new year with freezing temperatures and stiff winds. Beginning Thursday, heavy snowfall began to fall over much of the Midwest and Northeast, burying everything in up to 2 feet of snow.

Public workers were out in full force Friday to plow and salt the roads ahead of weekend traffic. Outreach teams set out in cities to get homeless people into shelters.

Roads were closed, thousands of flights were canceled or delayed, and several deaths were reported from weather-related causes. The nor'easter brought extreme cold that dipped well below zero degrees Fahrenheit, and with the “polar vortex” creeping across the U.S., meteorologists expect temperatures to drop even further.

"What a New Year's gift, to receive one last snowstorm as mayor," quipped Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, whose 20 years in office just ended and whose successor takes office on Monday.

Click through the slideshow above to see images from the last week’s winter madness.