The weather service also warned that a powerful nor’easter could bring snow, strong winds and rough surf to the East Coast.
The unrelenting cold wave sweeping a wide swath of the nation Tuesday shuttered schools and shattered records as forecasters warned that relief for millions remained several days away.
“Arctic air mass will bring a prolonged period of much-below-normal temperatures and dangerously cold wind chills to the central and eastern U.S. over the next week,” the National Weather Service tweeted.
Before the deep freeze thaws, a “major storm” will track near the East Coast that could bring snow, ice, blizzard conditions and frigid winds later this week, AccuWeather said. The storm could impact the length of the coast, from Maine to Florida, AccuWeather added.
“Arctic air will remain in place and will spread southward into Florida,” AccuWeather warned, adding that the storm could bring snow and ice could reach as far south as northeastern Florida.
The cold wave, which began creeping across the nation before Christmas, enveloped a swath of the country from Montana and Texas to the East Coast. The Southeast wasn’t spared — Atlanta awoke to 13 degrees on Tuesday, and the high was forecast to barely rise above freezing.
In Wisconsin, the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office said the bodies of two men found outdoors Sunday showed signs of hypothermia. In Bismarck, N.D., police said cold weather “may have been a factor” in the death of a 52-year-old man whose body was found lying in the snow.
In Indiana, the 30,000 students in the Indianapolis school system were kept home due to “dangerous weather conditions.” The temperature at 7 a.m. was -11 degrees with a wind chill mark below -20 degrees.
In Ohio, Cincinnati’s 35,000 students had their holiday break extended at least a day when authorities closed the schools due to the cold. Other districts, including Canton, shut schools for the day.
In Massachusetts, Boston schools soldiered on, but some nearby districts such as Everett shut down for the day while others delayed opening a couple hours.
In South Dakota, Aberdeen hit -32 degrees on New Year’s Day, smashing a record had stood for 99 years. In Nebraska, Omaha’s 15-below 0 degrees on Sunday broke a record dating to 1884.
In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio kicked off his second term Monday with an outdoor swearing-in ceremony with temperatures in the teens. Chicago canceled it’s annual Polar Plunge because, well, it was just too polar.