Freeze spread to southern states, 21 dead in US

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Freeze spread to southern states, 21 dead in US
Atlanta, Jan 8: The polar freeze has spread from US Midwest to the East and South, from Boston to Birmingham, leaving 21 people dead, authorities said. The Midwest and the East on Tuesday experienced temperatures colder than much of Antarctica.

A result of a phenomenon calles Polar Vortex, Iwhich, according to the forecasters, is actually not all that unusual, all 50 states in US saw freezing temperatures. That included Hawaii, where it was -8 Celsius atop Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano.

The extreme cold weather started in the Midwest over the weekend, and by Tuesday, it covered about half of the country.

In New York City, the mercury plummeted to a record low -12 Celsius; in Boston, around -8 Celsius. Birmingham, Alabama, dipped to a low of -14 Celsius, breaking the record of -11.7 Celsius set in 1970. Atlanta saw a record low of -14.5 Celsius. Nashville, Tennessee, got down to -16.7 Celsius, and Little Rock, Arkansas, fell to -13 Celsius. It was just -17 Celsius at Washington Dulles International airport, eclipsing the 1988 mark of -13 Celsius. Temeprature reached -24 Celsius overnight in the Chicago area and -25.5 Celsius in suburban St Louis.

More than 500 passengers were stranded at night as on three Chicago-bound trains twere stuck in Illiois. The cold killed at least 21 across the country since Sunday, including seven in Illinois, and six in Indiana.

(Read more: Polar blast kills at least 9, freezes lakes, disrupts flights in US)

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