North America`s deep freeze loosening its icy grip, leaves 21 dead
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Last Updated: Thursday, January 09, 2014, 10:31
Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava

Atlanta: The deep freeze that has paralysed life in North America and left hundreds of residents here shivering for days is fast loosening its icy grip.

The biting cold in North America shattered century-old temperature records, however, in a huge relief for hundreds of Americans, a new weather pattern has emerged.

The mercury is rising in the US Midwest and East, which has borne the brunt of the so-called polar vortex, but was still below freezing in many areas.

At least 21 people have died since Sunday as a result of the weather, and more than 11,000 flights were grounded.

The big chill started in the Midwest over the weekend, and by Tuesday, it covered about half of the country. In New York City, the high was expected to be -12 Celsius; in Boston, around -8 Celsius.

Across the South, records were shattered like icicles. Birmingham, Alabama, dipped to a low of -14 Celsius, breaking the record of -11.7 Celsius set in 1970.

Atlanta saw a record low of -14.5 Celsius. Nashville, Tennessee, got down to -16.7 Celsius, and Little Rock, Arkansas, fell to -13 Celsius. It was just -17 Celsius at Washington Dulles International airport, eclipsing the 1988 mark of -13 Celsius.

The deep freeze dragged on in the Midwest as well, with the thermometer reaching -24 Celsius overnight in the Chicago area and -25.5 Celsius in suburban St Louis.

More than 500 passengers were stranded overnight on three Chicago-bound trains that were stopped by blowing and drifting snow in Illinois. Food ran low, but the heat stayed on.

The cold turned deadly as authorities reported at least 21 cold-related deaths across the country since Sunday, including seven in Illinois, and six in Indiana.

With PTI inputs

First Published: Wednesday, January 08, 2014, 13:44

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