1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Icy weather claims lives in the US

January 2, 2018

Sub-freezing weather in the US is reported to have caused several deaths, with another icy blast set to hit the northeast of the country. Many cities have experienced record low temperatures over the past few days.

USA Winter 2017 - Kälte in New York
Image: picture-alliance/AP/S. Wenig

Record-breaking freezing temperatures were blamed for the deaths of up to four people in the United States on Tuesday, as a cold snap continued its reign in the northeast of the country.

The cold was expected to ease across most of the US after Tuesday, but the northeastern section of the country was set for a repeat of the icy weather on Thursday or Friday as another arctic blast headed for the area.

Read more: 2017: The year climate change hit

The National Weather Service issued wind-chill warnings as dangerously low temperatures were expected from eastern Montana across the Midwest into the Atlantic coast and the Northeast and down through the deep South.

Read more: The world at 3 degrees: What it means for five cities

School districts in Iowa, Massachusetts, Indiana, Ohio and North Carolina canceled or delayed the start of classes as bitterly cold temperatures, 11 to 17 degrees Celsius (20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit) below normal, were expected across the eastern half of the country.

The cold was blamed for the deaths of two men in separate incidents in Milwaukee, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. A homeless man was found dead on a porch in Charleston, West Virginia, while another man was found dead outside a church in Detroit, with police saying he may have frozen to death, local news outlets reported.

The mayor of Washington, DC, Muriel Bowser, urged residents to call the city if they saw people outside.

"We want every resident to have shelter and warmth," she said in a tweet.

Record low temperatures

Despite sub-freezing temperatures and warnings from the National Weather Service, the icy weather did not deter hundreds of people from ringing in the new year by jumping into Lake Michigan as part of the "Polar Plunge."

Read more: Several deaths reported as cold weather grips Europe

Organizers had canceled a similar event on the Chicago lakefront after the temperature went below zero. The organizers said the arctic blast made jumping into the lake too dangerous.

Many places across the United States experienced record low temperatures over the last few days. Omaha, Nebraska, posted a low of minus 29 Celsius (minus 20 Fahrenheit), breaking a 130-year-old record, and Aberdeen, South Dakota, shattered a record set in 1919 with a temperature of minus 36 degrees Celsius (minus 32 Fahrenheit).

law/ (AP, Reuters)