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Dangerously cold winter grips US, 12 dead

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Water squirts from a frozen fountain near downtown in Charlotte, New York City, January 2, 2018. (Photo by AP)

Dangerously cold temperatures have been blamed for at least a dozen deaths in the central and eastern United States.

The bitter cold prompted officials to shut down schools and local attractions in several regions on Tuesday out of safety concerns.

Warming centers were opened in the Deep South with authorities demanding that neighbors, especially those who are elderly, sick or who live alone be checked.

"It's important that people look out for anyone in need of shelter," St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson warned.

Temperatures in St. Louis have dipped 30 degrees below normal.

Freeze warnings were also issued for areas from South Texas to Canada and from Montana to Maine.

Tony Sampson, who received a blanket from Star of Hope's Love in Action van, tries to warm up by a fire under the Eastex Freeway in Houston, January 2, 2018. (Photo by AP)

In Atlanta, Grady Memorial Hospital emergency room doctors were forced to raise a patient's body temperature almost once a day or every other day using warm fluids, blankets or other measures.

"We have a group of patients who are coming in off the street who are looking to escape the cold — we have dozens and dozens of those every day," Emergency Care Center assistant medical director Dr. Brooks Moore told the Associated Press. 

"You thought you were cold last year. You thought you were cold last month. But you weren't cold. Now you're cold," said Jeanne Rivera, of Crystal Lake, Illinois, who was in Chicago on Tuesday to visit an art exhibit. "It hurts. It hurts the face."

Slippery roads have resulted in numerous car accidents with a crash, which involved more than a dozen vehicles, forcing the closure of the Schuylkill Expressway in Pennsylvania.

Commuters brave sub-zero temperatures as they make their way to work, January 2, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. (Getty Images)

In Indiana, the current freezing weather is unusual because of how long it has lasted, according to experts.

"It has just been relentlessly cold since Christmas," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private Weather Underground.


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