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Relentless, teeth-chattering, record-shattering cold gripped the eastern United States on Friday as the next winter storm threatened to make an icy, snowy mess out of the weekend for tens of millions of people.
Flint, Michigan, dipped to 25 degrees below zero, tying the record for the coldest morning there since records were established in 1921. Philadelphia, Washington and Lexington, Kentucky, had their coldest morning in two decades. And Cleveland broke its all-time record low for February when the mercury showed minus 17 degrees Friday morning.
Elsewhere, from Maine to Florida, temperatures were as much as 40 degrees lower than normal. Forecasters said it might turn out to be the coldest air of the entire winter.
Ferries had trouble navigating around blocks of ice on the rivers around New York, where the temperature at sunrise was 2, easily beating the record for the coldest Feb. 20 in the nation's largest city.
Wind chills were below zero just about everywhere east of the Mississippi River and above the Deep South. It felt like 30 below in Syracuse, New York, 14 below in Boston and 5 below in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Even Miami, which checked in with a chilly-for-South Florida air temperature of 42 degrees, tied a record for the date.
The latest cold snap has killed at least 26 people, including 18 in Tennessee. Most were from hypothermia or car accidents on icy roads.
Meanwhile, the next winter storm is taking aim. Freezing rain and sleet were already creating hazardous conditions from Missouri to Alabama Friday, and are expected to keep falling throughout the night and into Saturday morning.
Parts of at least half of the nation’s states were under winter storm watches, warnings and advisories Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.
Farther north, the system will dump snow, but nothing too severe for most places — 3 to 6 inches across Pennsylvania, New York and New England. Parts of West Virginia and Virginia could get a foot or more.
Snow-buried New England could see another storm in the middle of the week if the cold lingers and precipitation from the Great Lakes moves in, but Weather.com warned it’s too early to say for sure if the region will rack up more inches.