A Cold Snap Grips the Country

Brrrrrr. Freezing temperatures, snow and ice storms are breaking records in many parts of the U.S.

Jan 08, 2010 | By Jonathan Rosenbloom

A deep freeze has been gripping the Midwest, the South and the Northeast for the last week. Snow and ice storms are forecast across parts of the deep South from South Carolina to Louisiana. How cold is it? With howling winter winds whipping the snow, weather forecasters said it felt like 52 degrees below zero in Bowbells, North Dakota.

"The air freezes your nostrils, your eyes water and your chest burns from breathing. And that's just going from the house to your vehicle," said Jane Tetrault, who lives in Bowbells. When Tetrault got to her vehicle, the tires were frozen!

Meanwhile, in Florida, it's so cold that iguanas have been seen falling from trees. Experts say the cold-blooded reptiles couldn't move because of the icy air. The lizards lose their grip on tree limbs when temperatures fall into the 40s or below.

Saving Strawberries

Iguanas aren't the only things suffering from Florida's unusual weather. The Sunshine State's strawberry farmers are trying to keep their crops from dying as temperatures in some places plunge as low as 25 degrees. Even if farmers succeed in saving most of their berry crop, they haven't been able to save them all. So strawberry lovers will be paying higher prices for the fruit in the next few weeks.

"I'm really worried that there won't be a lot of strawberries for Valentine's Day," David Spivey told the New York Times. "We haven't picked [berries] in three days. I can't tell you when we'll pick again," he said.

Too Cold for Lawmakers

The weather news isn't much better in other regions. Icy roads are causing accidents in Indiana. Giant icicles hang from roofs and cars. More than 500 flights were kept from taking off at airports in Chicago, Illinois. Schools were closed in several states, including Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota and Alabama. Missouri state lawmakers cancelled yesterday's session because of the weather.

"It's brutally cold," said meteorologist Tony Zaleski. Unfortunately for residents in freezing states, not much relief is in sight for the next few days. The bitter winter weather will continue through the weekend.