WASHINGTON – The cold wave breaking low temperature records in the US in recent days continues spreading across the country and has taken at least 11 lives in the past 24 hours, local media reported on Wednesday.
Exposure to the dangerously low temperatures brought by an Arctic air mass is the proximate cause of most of the deaths, according to CNN.
Five people have died in Wisconsin, four in Texas, and one each in North Dakota and Missouri.
Frozen lakes, ponds, riverbanks and private swimming pools are to be found across vast swaths of the US, and authorities have suspended assorted traditional New Year’s celebrations.
The National Weather Service said on Twitter that the frigid air will continue to chill the eastern two-thirds of the country until the end of the week, bringing dangerously cold and windy conditions.
On Jan. 2, record low temperatures were registered in Dayton, Ohio, where the thermometer plunged to -25 C (-13 F), breaking the record set in 1898, and in Salisbury, Maryland, where temps dropped to -14 C (7 F), breaking the record set in 1918.
The NWS launched an awareness campaign to warn the public of the need to follow the progress of the storm affecting the East and explaining what the symptoms of hypothermia are.
The storm could bring snow and ice along the Atlantic coast, especially in Florida and North Carolina.
Specifically, in Florida’s capital of Tallahassee, on Wednesday the NWS said that 2.5 millimeters (0.1 inch) of snow had accumulated on local roofs, although it was not expected to stick.
And local police asked residents to exercise “extreme caution” while driving” and not to expose themselves to the wintry conditions for very long without being properly equipped and clothed.
Meanwhile, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal took to Twitter to declare a state of emergency for 28 counties due to the chilly conditions.