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Record cold in US Midwest

Bone-chilling cold gripped the middle of the U.S. as 2018 began Monday, breaking a low temperature record, icing some New Year's celebrations and leading to at least two deaths attributed to exposure to the elements.

The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories covering a vast area from South Texas all the way to Canada and from Montana and Wyoming in the west through New England to the northern tip of Maine.

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 weather service said a temperature of -26 C was recorded in Omaha before midnight Sunday, breaking a record low dating back to 1884, and the temperature was still dropping early New Year's Day. That reading did not include the wind chill effect — which could hit -40 C, according to forecasters.

Omaha officials cited the forecast last week in postponing the 18th annual New Year's Eve Fireworks Spectacular that draws around 30,000 people.

It was even colder in Des Moines early Monday at -29 C. Des Moines city officials had closed a downtown outdoor ice skating plaza and said it won't reopen until the city emerges from sub-zero temperatures.

The wind chill dipped to -38 C in Duluth, Minnesota, a city known for its bitter cold winters. Steam rose up from Lake Superior as a ship moved through the harbour where ice was forming from the bitter cold.

Bitterly cold temperatures also are spreading across the Deep South, a region more accustomed to brief bursts of arctic air than night after night below zero. Frozen pipes and dead car batteries were concerns from Louisiana to Georgia as overnight temperatures in the teens were predicted across the region.

An Indianapolis woman was in critical condition after she became confused in the snow and ice and turned her vehicle the wrong direction, driving 150 feet on a retention pond before her vehicle fell through the ice.

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office said two bodies found on Sunday showed signs of hypothermia. They included a man in his 50s found on the ground in an alley and a 34-year-old man. 



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