Good morning, and happy Tuesday. Here are some of the stories we’re following today:
1. Arctic air, snow puts nation in a deep freeze
Major cities across the Ohio Valley and Northeast could see a few inches of snow as dangerously cold air marches across the Midwest. Some 240 million people are under this nasty cold spell. After arctic air socked the middle of the country on Monday, a second round is hitting the Northern Plains, with the Dakotas, Minnesota and Iowa getting the brunt of the blast. The same air is moving east over the next couple of days, with high temperatures about 35 degrees below average. Read more in NEWS.
2. SpaceX’s launch of Falcon 9 rocket aborted
SpaceX scrubbed its launch of the Falcon 9 rocket early Tuesday morning. The rocket was supposed to blast off from Florida to the International Space Station. It would have brought cargo to the ISS and landed back on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean — a feat that has never been done before. NASA blamed Tuesday’s delay on a technical issue. The next possible launch could happen Friday morning. Read more in SCIENCE.
3. Divers continue hunt for main piece of AirAsia
Search and rescue officials said Tuesday that while finding bodies of the passengers of AirAsia Flight 8501 will be their main task, there will be a separate focus to locate the fuselage and tail of the doomed plane. The jet crashed off the coast of Borneo on Dec. 28 with 162 on board. At least 37 bodies have been recovered so far, and the search area in the Java Sea has been expanded. Read more in NEWS.
4. Will Boehner regain Speaker of the House?
The newly elected 114th Congress is moving into Capitol Hill on Tuesday, and Republicans are already expected to be in a veto showdown with President Barack Obama over the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. But there’s another issue looming: Will Republican leader John Boehner be re-elected for his third term as Speaker of the House? A bloc of conservatives who view Boehner as too moderate and conciliatory are planning to vote against him, and two outspoken members say they are actively running for his job. Read more in POLITICS.
5. Flu outbreak spreads to more states
Feeling a little under the weather? You could blame the annual flu outbreak, which has spread to 43 states, according to new figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The flu generally hits hardest in the very young and the very old. Depending on the season and the strain, it can kill anywhere between 4,000 and 50,000 people each year in the United States. This season, nearly two dozen children have died from the flu. Read more in HEALTH.
6. Two American skiiers die in Austria avalanche
A pair of prospects for the U.S. ski team — Ronnie Berlack, 20, and Bryce Astle, 19 — were killed Monday while freeskiing in the resort area of Soelden. Four others who were skiing with them managed to avoid the avalanche. “It’s a shock for everybody,” U.S. Alpine director Patrick Riml said, according to The Associated Press. “Two great boys, great athletes, good skiers. They were fun to have around. We are all in shock, still. It’s very tragic.” Read more at NBC SPORTS.
And now this ...
This is what happens when a fireworks factory goes up in flames. Thankfully, no one was hurt.