Arctic cold snap grips U.S. | Daily News

Arctic cold snap grips U.S.

20 dead, over 3 million people without power:
Bicycles are covered in snow in Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday as a result of the cold sweeping in the US. - AFP
Bicycles are covered in snow in Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday as a result of the cold sweeping in the US. - AFP

US: Arctic weather that already killed 20 people and left millions without power in the United States after dumping deep snow and bringing perilous conditions across swathes of the country.

More than 20 storm-related deaths have been registered so far, including in traffic accidents in Texas, Kentucky and Missouri, according to local media.

The National Weather Service (NWS) warned of an “unprecedented and expansive area of hazardous winter weather” from coast to coast, with more than 150 million Americans under winter weather advisories.

“Hundreds of daily low maximum and minimum temperatures have been/will be broken during this prolonged 'polar plunge,' with some February and even all-time low temperature records in jeopardy,” it said.

The grim conditions particularly afflicted regions unaccustomed to snow and sleet. PowerOutage.US reported more than 3 million people were without power in Texas, where temperatures in the major metropolis of Houston dipped to 16 degrees Fahrenheit (-9 degrees Celsius), well below average February lows of 34.

In hardest-hit Texas -- where freezing conditions prompted utility companies to implement rotating blackouts -- a woman and girl died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a car to generate heat, according to NBC News.

A man in Louisiana died when he hit his head after slipping on ice, and a 10-year-old Tennessee boy died after he and his six-year-old sister fell through the ice into a pond Sunday.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday vowed to provide additional emergency resources for those affected by the “historic storm.”

He also thanked “road workers, highway patrol officers, and first responders who are taking swift action in horrific conditions to save lives,” according to a White House statement.

The winter storm spawned at least four tornadoes, according to Atlanta-based weather.com, including one in coastal North Carolina late Monday that killed at least three people and injured 10 more.

Photos and video broadcast by US media showed downed trees, flattened homes and smashed cars.

In the state capital Austin, the temperature dropped to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (-12 degrees Celsius) -- well below February's average low of 45F. By contrast, thermometers in Anchorage, Alaska read 20F.

- AFP