Video: Deadly cold kills four

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    >> now tthe deay deep free that simy won't end. in fact, right now the nation is inhe middle of the longest stretchf below-normal temperatures inome 25years. nbc's janet shamlian 's in kansa city, missri. jat, good rning to u.

    >> reporte matt, good morning. 14 degrees in kansas ci right now, and it'snly going to get colder ove the nextew days. two-irds of thecountry, temperatures are in aree fall, and forecasters say unlike most cold snaps, which last t or three ys, this one is goi to hang on. in a winter that's already dumped travel-crippling snow an ice on muchf the natio now comes thdeep freeze. some of the colde air o the season so far wl be moving in. blowing sn, even blizzard conditions psible at times.

    >> reporter: bitter, ne-chillincoldlanketinas mu as two-thirds of the u.s., from the rockies, pushing east, and deep intohe shell-shocke south. what are you going to do? they wanted to go swimmingyou know we came to florida to go to the ach.

    reporter: even where ty expect winter's worst, it's a record-breaker. minus 37 in internation falls, minnesota, mus 16n st. joseph, missou. by week's end, littleock could see 10 degrees, dallas will be in the 20s.

    >> when you he conditions like this, sustained periods of this kind of ld weather, iteall is about protecting people's lives.

    reporter: the nation's bread basket turni into an ice box . in desmoines, iowa, tim culle is using three space heaters that areoing little tout the chill.

    >> i've got to adt, this is the coldest i think ie ever be.

    >> reporter: bond the cold, ev more snowscomi. frozen, like a psicle.

    >> reporter: notveryone is runng fr theold.

    >> we're just conditioning our boes --

    >> exactly.

    >> -- o enjoy the resof the winter.

    >> we live here weight as well facehe facts, right?

    >> rorter: forecasters say what's unusual about this cold snap is how widespread it isnd how long it willlast.

    >> i think it's miserae. ie got four pair of socks on and my feet still getold.

    reporter: ,angerously cold, fa, the c has issued an advisory about exposure to these elements, including, matt t risk of frostbite and hythermia. matt, back to you.

    >> allright, janet,hank you very much. janet shamlian in kans city. by the way, in our nt half hour,e'll get some tip on how to drive in all these dangerous and icy conditions.

    >> all right, but for now,

updated 1/6/2010 4:34:53 PM ET 2010-01-06T21:34:53

A stubborn cold wave locked freezing temperatures in place across the central and eastern U.S. Wednesday as far south as Florida, where farmers worked to salvage millions of dollars' worth of strawberries and other crops.

Arctic air was expected to hover through the weekend. In a rare turn for the South, forecasters warned that snow and ice were possible Thursday from South Carolina to Louisiana and wind chills in the region could get down to near zero at night.

A new winter storm brewed over the Northern Plains on Wednesday, promising more snow and deep wind chills from the Dakotas across the upper Midwest.

Freezing temperatures along with heavy snow hit parts of New England and created treacherous roads. In western New York, a woman and her infant daughter were killed late Tuesday when their car slid and slammed into a sport utility vehicle towing a trailer with two snowmobiles along a snow-covered roadway.

In Mississippi, authorities say a 68-year-old man died of hypothermia Tuesday. Two butane gas heaters were turned on inside Billy Joe Fuller's house but the tank outside was empty, Lauderdale County Coroner Clayton Cobler said. At least four deaths in Tennessee this week have been tied to the bitter cold.

In central and south Florida, farmers were trying to salvage citrus and vegetable crops by spraying them in protective layers of ice and covering them in plastic. Gov. Charlie Crist signed an executive order Wednesday that gave the state's Division of Emergency Management and other agencies the authority to provide farmers with assistance.

Unusually cold South
Weather in the South this time of year is typically chilly for just a day or two before temperatures rebound into the 50s. Many homes weren't built to handle such cold, with uninsulated pipes and heat pumps that must continuously run to keep things barely comfortable.

Slideshow: Winter’s grip

Miami meteorologist Dan Dixon said Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach were expected to approach or set record-low overnight temperatures Wednesday morning. The game-time temperature for the Orange Bowl between Georgia Tech and Iowa was 49 degrees in Miami, which FOX-TV announcers said was a record for the annual college football game that started in 1935.

Vacationing college students from Ohio, Tara McCourry and Stephen McFarren, walked hand-in-hand Tuesday along picturesque Pensacola Beach, some of the few people braving the 27-degree wind chill. The couple watched pelicans, admired seashells and adjusted their hats and gloves as they buffered themselves against the wind.

"This is my first time in Florida and Florida is not supposed to be cold like this," McCourry said.

Charleston, S.C., was expecting subfreezing overnight lows all week. Parts of West Virginia could see 4 to 8 inches of snow by Wednesday morning. A dusting of snow fell in western and central Kentucky overnight, heralding 3 to 5 inches expected in those areas, with some locally heavier amounts.

Record snowfall
The cold weather has left behind record snowfall in some areas. In northeast Ohio, another 5 to 6 inches of snow fell Tuesday in an area already covered by 2 feet of snow, according to the National Weather Service.

Police in Erie County, N.Y., said Stephanie Ali, 22, lost control of her car Tuesday evening and crossed over into oncoming traffic in Grand Island, northwest of Buffalo near Niagara Falls. Ali and her 5-month-old daughter were killed. Investigators said the SUV driver could not have avoided hitting her.

In Vermont, the bad weather was blamed for several car accidents on slushy, slick roadways. In Hinesburg, a police officer was investigating a single-vehicle crash on Tuesday night when his cruiser was struck from behind by a teenager driving on roads that were covered in ice because of freezing rain. Minor injuries and vehicle damage were reported.

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