Historic deep freeze hits US north-east

 More than 80 million Americans are expected to face freezing tem­peratures as a record-breaking deep freeze hits the north-eastern US.

The frigid blast could bring “once-in-a-generation” wind chills that cause frostbite in less than 10 minutes, the National Weather Service has warned.

Residents from Pennsylvania to Maine are being urged to limit their time outdoors through Friday and Saturday.

At least 11 people have died in the bad weather in the US south since Monday.

There were eight fatalities in Texas, two in Oklahoma and one in Arkansas.

About a dozen records are expected to be broken by Friday afternoon in several states, where a total of 82 million people will face temperatures of -17 Celsius (0 F) or lower.

In Maine, for example, parts of the state are expecting the lowest temperatures recorded since 1971. In the city of Port­land, wind chill is expected to reach -41 F (-43 C).

In nearby Burlington, Ver­mont, Friday’s highest tempera­ture is expected to reach just -20 C (-5 F).

Boston, which is anticipating sub-zero wind chills, is currently under a cold emergency. Public schools have been closed in the city, as well as in nearby Worces­ter.

Temperatures in New York City and other major cities are also expected to bottom out in the single digits (Fahrenheit, around -13C to -17C) by Satur­day, although forecasters predict they will rebound by the end of the weekend.

Temperatures in parts of Tex­as have climbed above freezing, and ice was expected to melt by Friday as temperatures keep rising.

More than 320,000 people were still without power as of Friday morning in Texas, Arkan­sas, and Mississippi, according to

Emergency crews in Texas have responded to hundreds of collision calls since Monday, some of which have been fatal. Three men were killed in a crash near Brownfield, south-west of the Texas city of Lubbock, ac­cording to the state’s Department of Public Safety. —BBC

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