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Northeast locked in deep freeze and Texas expecting ice as winter tightens its grip

Lonnie Bates rides his bike in Gary, Indiana on Wednesday.
Lonnie Bates rides his bike in Gary, Indiana on Wednesday.John Luke / The Times via AP

There’s no respite in sight from the worst of winter. Not even in Texas.

Forecasters say nuisance snowstorms — nothing like earlier this week, but enough to hamper cleanup efforts — will dust the Northeast over the coming days. High temperatures won’t climb out of the single digits in many places Friday, and a brief warmup on Saturday will be followed by another blast of arctic air next week.

Meanwhile, winter storm alerts were posted as far south as the Rio Grande on Thursday, and even Houston and San Antonio were expecting ice by night. Schools were closed in Minneapolis, which woke up to a temperature of 18 below and a wind chill of minus 38.

“This is really something,” said Tom Niziol, a winter weather expert at The Weather Channel. “It’s a big cold air outbreak here.”

Authorities blamed the weather for four deaths in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, including a 92-year-old woman and an 87-year-old man, NBC Philadelphia reported.

Crews have already struggled to clear the streets of New York after a storm dropped a foot of snow on Tuesday. Mayor Bill De Blasio said late Wednesday that “more could have been done” to clean, particularly on the Upper East Side, according to NBC New York. He warned New Yorkers about the extreme cold in a tweet. 

Forecasters’ only suggestion to the winter-weary Northeast was to bundle up. Temperatures will continue to be as much as 30 degrees below average, said Michael Palmer, a lead meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

“In a lot of the Northeast, the highs will be in single digits and we’re expecting those to continue possibly through Friday,” he said. “Our advice would be to wrap up warm.”

A brief warm-up could come Saturday, but another blast of cold air starting Monday will likely keep things chilled through the week.

Clipper systems are likely to drop an inch or two of snow in "nuisance" storms, but Palmer warned that they could hamper the cleanup efforts from Wednesday’s wind-whipped winter storm that dumped almost a foot of snow on New York and other cities.

There was happier news in Philadelphia, where baby Bella Sophia Bonanni was born on a sled Wednesday morning.

Her mom, Shirley Bonnani, told NBC Philadelphia that by the time she was showered and ready to go to the hospital her contractions were too strong for her to walk, so her husband popped her onto their toddlers’ sled and began pulling her to the car.  

Bella wouldn't wait, however, and was delivered with the help of neighbors and a 911 dispatcher’s instructions. She arrived weighing seven pounds.

They’ll need to wrap her up, though, because the frigid temperatures look set to continue over the coming week, The Weather Channel’s Palmer said.

A shot of cold arctic air will also target Texas on Thursday driving down temperatures into the 20s, he added. Winter-storm watches and winter-weather advisories have been issued for more than 10 million Texans. Parts of the Rockies and southern Louisiana are also likely to be hit.   

“Over the West Coast and into the Inter-Mountain West, it's like a broken record,” The National Weather Service said on its website, with very dry weather and above normal temperatures expected to continue.