Historic cold snap grips northern half of America

Temperatures are dangerously low across the country.
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Not even global warming can fend off the dangerously cold Arctic air that has settled over half of the country, and meteorologists say relief likely won't come for at least another week, The New York Times reports. "It felt like we'd been living in a war zone," said Carole Van Duzer of Erie, Pennsylvania, which was buried this week under five feet of snow. "The whole thing was just exhausting."

At least 220 million Americans are being affected by the cold snap. New record lows include 23 below in National Mine, Michigan, 32 below zero in Watertown, New York, and 36 below in International Falls, Minnesota. With 110 mile per hour at gusts at Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, the wind chill is set at a shocking -89 degrees. In the Midwest, "temperature anomalies on Saturday could be as much as 30 to 35 degrees below normal,” NOAA reports.

At least two people have died in Chicago from the cold, and the temperatures are so low that even sharks off of New England are dying as their gills freeze up. A dog was discovered frozen solid on a porch in Toledo, Ohio, after it apparently escaped the house.

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Authorities warned of the dangers of getting hypothermia just walking to one's car. "Certainly, as New Year's Eve parties begin to wrap up, we're going to be very concerned about people who are leaving, might not throw their coat on," said a spokesman for the Dallas-area health-care company MedStar. "'It's only a few steps to the car, it's only a few steps to the house' — without realizing they're going to potentially have hypothermia and not be able to recognize it."

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