US & Canada

Deadly cold hits US East for second day

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Media captionThe snow and ice look may look pretty, but as Ben Bland reports, the weather is causing problems

Bitterly cold temperatures have continued for a second day in the eastern half of the US.

A number of record lows were broken on Thursday, including in Washington, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Midwest temperatures dropped to -40C (-40F).

The cold has been blamed for at least 19 deaths, many in Tennessee where temperatures were far lower than usual.

Forecasters say some areas will see sleet and freezing rain as temperatures warm up slightly over the weekend.

Ontario and parts of Quebec were also under extreme cold warnings - with the wind-chill making temperatures feel like -29C in Toronto and -45C in northern Ontario.

In Toronto, a three-year-old boy died on Thursday after being lost for hours wearing only a T-shirt, nappy and boots.

Elijah Marsh was found a few hundred metres away from his home in temperatures of -19C but died in hospital.

The extreme cold has also frozen parts of the Hudson river near New York City, with a tugboat brought in to break up the ice.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A completely frozen fountain in Bryant Park, New York City drew onlookers
Image copyright Toronto Police
Image caption Elijah Marsh died after being outside in -19C temperatures in Toronto
Image copyright AP
Image caption The deep freeze has partially frozen Niagara Falls

In the US Midwest, a majority of Lake Michigan and 98% of Lake Erie were frozen over.

Chicago reopened its schools on Friday after closing the day before due to wind-chill temperatures as low as -34C.

Schools in the Waterloo region outside Toronto were also closed because of the cold on Friday.


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Media captionWhat can the US learn from Finland about dealing with cold weather?

Record lows

  • Ronald Reagan National Airport, outside Washington DC, -14C. Previous record, -13C, 1896
  • Baltimore-Washington Airport, -17C. Previous record, -15C, 1979
  • New York City's Central Park, -16C. Previous record, -14C, 1950
  • Pittsburgh, -21C. Previous record, -19C, 1934

About 3,000 people were still without electricity in Tennessee on Friday down from 30,000. Eleven deaths are being blamed on the cold in the state , including six from hypothermia.

In western Pennsylvania, temperatures dipped to minus -28C, without the wind chill.

And further north in the mid-western state of Minnesota, temperatures dropped to -41C.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Unusually cold temperatures have spread across the US South - including Atlanta (seen here)
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Great Falls, Virginia, near Washington DC, freezes over
Image copyright EPA
Image caption Tenneesse remains in a state of emergency after at least 11 people died because of the cold

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