Huddle up with those blankets and be careful with those space heaters, for the U.S. cold snap won’t be over anytime soon. The vast majority of U.S. residents who have stepped outside this week immediately felt brutally cold temps (and possible regrets) upon doing so. CNN puts the matter in blunt terms while reporting that 90% of the country (including NYC, as shown above and reflected by Steve Harvey’s ultra-warm Times Square outfit) didn’t even hit 32 degrees Fahrenheit on New Year’s Day.
The afflicted area includes all of the generally affected states like Maine and Washington but, amazingly, may soon encompass Florida, which could see snow after some water park fountains froze in the Sunshine State and in nearby Georgia. ABC News is reporting that the bitter cold has already turned fatal for nine people across the country, including the following tragedies:
Police in St. Louis said a homeless man found dead inside a trash bin Monday evening apparently froze to death as the temperature dropped to negative 6 degrees (-21 Celsius). Sheriff’s officials in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, said a 27-year-old woman whose body was found Monday evening on the shore of Lake Winnebago likely died of exposure.
The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said two men whose bodies were found Sunday showed signs of hypothermia. Police believe the cold weather also may have been a factor in the death of a man in Bismarck, North Dakota, whose body was found near a river.
The danger also slides down to Texas, which has seen perilously icy roads, and CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward warns that no relief is on the horizon. “The cold is here to stay and the worst is yet to come,” Ward said. This news grows ever more unsettling when one realizes that this particular cold snap has dropped temperatures 30 degrees lower than average for much of the country.
Even more bizarre? NBC Philly meteorologist Glenn Schwartz has tweeted a graphic (while shading a certain Trump climate change tweet) that shows how the U.S. is “nearly the ONLY part of the world that isn’t warmer than normal.”
Most of the country will suffer through hard freeze warnings at least through midweek, and the extreme wind chills in the central and eastern U.S. may last until next week. While noting several anomalies, the Weather Channel spoke to one resident in Savannah, Georgia, who marveled at the frozen landscape while declaring, “I’ve never seen icicles in Savannah, period.”
The Weather Channel also details school and event closings that stretch from Illinois to North Carolina. Meanwhile, Chicago Polar Bear Plunge organizer Jeff Coggins spoke with CBS News about the danger the now-cancelled event would pose. “I was down by the lake and, gosh, if you were dropped in there, it’d take you 10 minutes to get out,” Coggins said. “Someone could get tissue damage — heck, someone could die, and it’s not worth that.”
Bundle up and stay safe, everyone.