US East Coast shivers in New Year Big Freeze

A thin layer of ice covers ornamental plants on January 4 in Plant City Florida. Temperatures in central Florida dipped to below freezing. Growers spray water on the plants to help protect them from extreme cold

US East Coast shivers in New Year Big Freeze

From northern Florida up through New York City into New England, tens of millions of people will be under wind chill and freeze warnings throughout the day as temperatures in some parts to the north were expected to be -40°C, while in parts of the south highs were forecast to be 20° below average.

Dedham, Massachusetts, had 19 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service.

In one of the latest fatalities attributed to the weather, a auto slid off an icy road, killing a pedestrian early on Friday in North Charleston, South Carolina, city officials said.

More than 1,000 Friday flights are canceled, after more than 4,300 flights were canceled on Thursday, FlightAware said.

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Winds chills will be well below zero this weekend, with some areas feeling like it is minus 40.

It's the perceived temperature that people and animals feel when exposed to the elements. Some said their cars felt like icebox even though they had the heat on full blast.

In Burlington, Vermont, people battled temperatures of minus 18C and a wind chill of minus 34C.

Temperatures were in the single digits from Philadelphia to Boston on Saturday morning and expected to fall closer to zero on Saturday night, with wind chills making it feel like minus 10 degrees to minus 20 degrees.

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And when the wind chill registers below minus 50, it would take only five minutes for exposed skin to develop frostbite. Six deaths were reported in Wisconsin, four in Texas, three in North Carolina, and one each in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Virginia.

In Arlington, Massachusetts, a state Water Resources Authority employee was found unconscious in a snow bank while doing snow removal work Friday, Arlington Police Chief Fred Ryan said.

Among the dead was a 64-year-old man who died of hypothermia in Akron, Ohio. A Meals on Wheels driver found his body lying in front of his wheelchair on the porch of the man's home. "The sustained cold is requiring round-the-clock usage of some of these oil-fired generators, and some are already running short on fuel", an ISO New England spokesperson told the Times.

On Thursday, the tide at Boston Harbor matched its record at 15.1 feet - previously set during the blizzard of 1978. Waves from the sea washed into Boston streets.

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Streets in coastal MA turned into slushy rivers as the storm triggered flooding. Firefighters and the National Guard had scrambled to rescue dozens of coastal residents stranded by freezing water pushing from the Atlantic.

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