Frigid temperatures are gripping much of the US this week to send mercury levels plummeting. From the Northwest into the Plains and South and up into the Midwest and further east, people were bundling up, stocking up on fire wood and doing what they can to stay warm and safe. Dangerously cold air has sent temperatures dipping down into the single digits all across the US with wind chills making it seem even colder. Toss in some snow that some areas are getting and you’re left with a bone chilling mix that’s not fun to be outside in.
There were scores of school delays and cancellations all across the country as well as traffic ties up and worries about frozen pipes and the homeless population. Homeless shelters in numerous cities were scrambling to make arrangements for getting people off the street and indoors. Wind chill readings were at or below the zero mark in many states. In some places, it was so cold that people were told to stay inside. For example, the wind chill was -40 in Saranac Lake in upstate New York Thursday morning.
Two men living in northern Michigan lost their lives when they were struck by cars when out in blowing snow. One man was crossing a road to retrieve his mail while the other was shoveling snow when struck by a vehicle that did not see him. There was a big mess in western Pennsylvania when a multiple vehicle pileup occurred that left two dead and several other people injured including some with serious injuries. There were also numerous fires occurring due to people using space heaters to warm frozen pipes. In one of those fires that burned in a barn near Akron, Ohio, several horses were killed.
Many people in numerous states could not get to work this week due to their vehicles not starting in the cold weather. Those that were able to make the commute to and from work were dealing with problems like traffic accidents and tie-ups due to blowing snow and other issues like vehicles that stopped running due to the cold. The only people who were benefiting from the cold snap that has much of the country in the deep freeze are those that service furnaces and vehicles and retailers selling generators, battery chargers and space heaters.