Brutal cold wave grips US

Washington, Jan 2 (IANS): A numbing cold wave has gripped much of the US, from the Midwest to the northeast, leading to at least three deaths as the New Year began.

Dangerously low temperatures enveloped eight Midwest states including parts of Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska along with nearly all of Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, the US National Weather Service said.

Hard freeze warnings will remain in effect from Texas to northern Florida, it said. Temperatures will get even colder at the end of the week and into the weekend in the Great Lakes region and parts of the northeast, CNN reported

The southeast will remain 10 to 15 degrees below average temperatures through the weekend.

Temperatures plunged below zero in the Midwest, including in Aberdeen, South Dakota, where the mercury dropped to a record-breaking minus -36 degree Celsius.

In Omaha, Nebraska, -26 degree Celsius was recorded before midnight Sunday, breaking the lowest record dating back to 1884, and the temperature was still dropping.

It was even colder early Monday in Des Moines, Iowa, at -29 degree Celsius and wind chill dipping to -35 degrees Celsius. Des Moines city officials had closed a central outdoor ice skating plaza and said it will not reopen until the city emerges from sub-zero temperatures.

A homeless man was found frozen to death on the front porch of a home in Charleston, West Virginia on Sunday afternoon.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office said two bodies found earlier this week showed signs of hypothermia.

In Indianapolis, a woman was found in critical condition after she mistakenly turned her vehicle in the wrong direction, driving on a retention pond before her vehicle fell through the ice.

There is no light at the end of the snow tunnel for much of the US. Although it will get a few degrees warmer in the coming days, temperatures are expected to drop again late in the week, officials said.

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