The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 23, 2013

Midwest remains locked in deep freeze

— MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Upper Midwest remains locked in the deep freeze, with bitter temperatures stretching into a fourth day across several states.

The cold snap arrived Saturday night as waves of Arctic air swept south from Canada, pushing temperatures to dangerous lows and leaving a section of the country well-versed in winter's pains reeling.

Authorities suspect exposure has played a role in at least four deaths so far.

"I am wearing a Snuggie under a top and another jacket over that," said Faye Whitbeck, president of the chamber of commerce in International Falls, Minn., a town near the Canadian border where the temperature was minus 30 on Tuesday morning. The so-called "Nation's Icebox" reached a balmy 3 below for a high. "I pulled out a coat that went right to my ankles this morning and I wore two scarves."

Among the coldest temperatures recorded Tuesday was 35 below at Crane Lake, Minn., a National Weather Service forecaster said early Wednesday.

The coldest location in the lower 48 states Monday was Embarrass, Minn., at 36 below. On Sunday it was Babbitt, Minn., at 29 below, according to the National Weather Service.

Forecasters said late Tuesday that overnight temperatures wouldn't get that low, but warned it was still frigid: Embarrass, Minn., was up to 15 below by late Tuesday night.

The bitter conditions were expected to persist into the weekend in the Midwest through the eastern half of the U.S., said Shawn DeVinny, a National Weather Service meteorologist in suburban Minneapolis.

Ariana Laffey, a 30-year-old homeless woman, kept warm with a blanket, three pairs of pants and six shirts as she sat on a milk crate begging near Chicago's Willis Tower on Tuesday morning. She said she and her husband spent the night under a bridge, bundled up under a half-dozen blankets.

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