Four die as deep freeze keeps grip on eastern US

Four people died over the long New Year's weekend as a record-shattering Arctic freeze kept its grip on much of the eastern United States.
A reveller waits in Times Square during a cold weather front ahead of New Year's celebrations in Manhattan, New York.
A reveller waits in Times Square during a cold weather front ahead of New Year's celebrations in Manhattan, New York. PHOTO: REUTERS
A frozen fountain in Bryant Park, New York, on Dec 30, 2017.
A frozen fountain in Bryant Park, New York, on Dec 30, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
People cross 6th Avenue and 42nd Street as a cold weather front hits the region, in Manhattan, on Dec 30, 2017.
People cross 6th Avenue and 42nd Street as a cold weather front hits the region, in Manhattan, on Dec 30, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS
A girl gets hit by a snowball in Washington Square Park, New York, on Dec 30, 2017.
A girl gets hit by a snowball in Washington Square Park, New York, on Dec 30, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Pedestrians bundle up to protect themselves from the extreme cold in Boston, Massachusetts, on Dec 30, 2017.
Pedestrians bundle up to protect themselves from the extreme cold in Boston, Massachusetts, on Dec 30, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
A woman bundles up to protect herself from the extreme cold in Boston, Massachusetts, on Dec 30, 2017.
A woman bundles up to protect herself from the extreme cold in Boston, Massachusetts, on Dec 30, 2017. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
Temperatures were from 11 to 17 degrees Celsius below normal across the US east of the Rocky Mountains, with only southern Florida untouched by the arctic blast.
Temperatures were from 11 to 17 degrees Celsius below normal across the US east of the Rocky Mountains, with only southern Florida untouched by the arctic blast.PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – A record-shattering Arctic freeze kept its grip on much of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains on Tuesday (Jan 2) but temperatures everywhere except the north-east were expected to warm within 24 hours.

Many school districts shut their classrooms due to the cold snap, which claimed four lives over the long New Year’s weekend.

The National Weather Service issued wind chill warnings for Tuesday as dangerously low temperatures were due from eastern Montana across the Midwest into the Atlantic coast and the Northeast and down through the deep South.

School districts in Iowa, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina cancelled or delayed the start of classes as bitterly cold temperatures, 11 to 17 deg C below normal, were expected across the eastern half of the United States.

“Just the bitter cold which is just too dangerous to put kids out on the street waiting for a bus that may not come,”Herb Levine, superintendent of the Peabody Public Schools, north of Boston, told a local CBS affiliate television station.

The cold was blamed for the deaths of two men in separate incidents in Milwaukee, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A homeless man was found dead on a porch in Charleston, West Virginia, while another man was found dead outside a church in Detroit and police said he may have froze to death, local news outlets reported.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser urged residents to call the city if they saw people outside.

 
 

“We want every resident to have shelter and warmth,” she said in a tweet.

Many places across the United States experienced record low temperatures over the last few days. Omaha, Nebraska, posted a low of minus 29 deg C, breaking a 130-year-old record, and Aberdeen, South Dakota, shattered a record set in 1919 with a temperature of minus 36 deg C.

The cold should ease across most of the country after Tuesday, but the northeastern section of the country will see a repeat of the frigid weather on Thursday or Friday as another arctic blast hits the area.

Private AccuWeather forecaster said the cold snap could combine with a storm brewing off the Bahamas to bring snow and high winds to much of the Eastern Seaboard as it heads north on Wednesday and Thursday.