More than 50 dead and 100 million under winter weather warnings as the Arctic cold covers the country

More than 50 dead and 100 million under winter weather warnings as the Arctic cold covers the country

A weeklong arctic cold that covered much of the country has claimed 59 lives, officials said, with more than 100 million people in the United States under winter weather warnings on Friday.

Wind chill advisories Friday afternoon extended from Montana to Florida and freeze advisories remained in effect across the South and Gulf Coast.

Temperatures Friday night and early Saturday in traditional hot spots like Shreveport, Louisiana; Jackson, Mississippi; Birmingham, Alabama; Atlanta is expected to drop into the 20s or teens.

Wind chill advisories Friday afternoon extended from Montana to Florida and freeze advisories remained in effect across the South and Gulf Coast.

Of the 59 cold-related deaths since last Friday, 19 occurred in Tennessee, nine in Oregon, six in Illinois and Mississippi, five in Washington state and Kentucky, and three in New York state. Two in Louisiana And one each in Arkansas, Wisconsin, Wyoming and New Hampshire, local and state officials told NBC News.

All Tennessee state offices were closed Friday due to dangerous winter weather, officials said.

The Nashville Department of Transportation and Multimodal Infrastructure asked Music City residents to stay home, saying Friday’s icy road conditions were the worst yet during this weeklong cold snap.

“If you’re driving, assume the road is icy, even when it looks clear.” The agency said.

In Wayne County, Tennessee, Sheriff Shane Fisher added some humor to his serious message urging drivers to be careful navigating icy conditions. His office released surveillance footage of the mayor falling on the ice after getting out of the truck.

“Don’t become a statistic!” According to the message. Note – No animals were harmed during the filming of this video.

Cities like Knoxville, in eastern Tennessee, typically only get about four inches of snow throughout the entire season. In less than two days, 8 inches of snow fell on the city.

“I know there are a lot of people who don’t have shovels in East Tennessee because you don’t expect to have to,” said Mark Nagy, spokesman for the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Above the snow lay the deep freeze, which exposed vulnerabilities and contributed to the state’s high number of weather-related deaths. Although interstate highways have been cleared, many city- or county-run neighborhoods are still filled with ice and snow.

The homeless are particularly suffering in Tennessee, where temperatures are expected to reach 9 degrees on Friday night, with wind gusts ranging between 1 and 6 degrees, and the state’s heating centers are filled to capacity.

Michael Rinkle, who ran a homeless service in Knoxville for nine years, described “seeing frozen tears on people’s faces.”

In western New York, residents were buried under snow for days.

Michael Santoro, who lives south of Buffalo in Hamburg, said he has been spending nearly five hours a day in his driveway plowing and shoveling to keep up with this week’s relentless snowfall.

“Any one of these snowy hills could be a car,” he said, pointing to a car in his driveway, which was completely covered in snow. “You have to be really careful when you drive from here.”

Between 1 and 5 inches of snow could fall in cities from West Virginia to southern New England on Friday.

  • Philadelphia was hit hard by snow Friday morning, and by the time the snow stops in the evening, up to 5 inches will have fallen on the City of Brotherly Love and the surrounding Delaware Valley.

  • Light snow began falling in New York City in the morning and 1 to 3 inches will likely cover the area by early evening.

  • Boston is expected to see light snow Friday afternoon and early evening, with up to an inch falling.

  • There was heavy snowfall Thursday through Friday afternoon north of Washington, D.C., with 6 inches of snow in Clayton, Delaware, and 5.4 inches in Columbia, Maryland. Baltimore suffered 4.1 inches of snow in this latest winter blast.

Large areas of Texas and Louisiana had been shivering since the end of last week, before getting a period of warmth and then returning to freezing on Friday.

Residents of Dallas and Amarillo, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana, enjoyed comfortable high temperatures of 60, 65 and 63 degrees Fahrenheit, respectively, on Thursday. These same communities were back under the blankets on Friday as temperatures dropped to 24, 31 and 41 degrees, respectively.

Winter temperatures across the eastern United States will be low throughout the weekend, but there is hope for warmer times by Monday.

For example, the temperature will not rise above freezing in New York City all weekend. But it could reach 37 degrees by Monday and reach the 50s a week from now.

Boston residents will have to prepare for high temperatures reaching the low 20s on Saturday before reaching conditions similar to New York City by next week.

Sunny days are also headed to the Midwest, where high temperatures in St. Louis and Chicago won’t exceed 17 and 14 degrees on Saturday. But the mercury should reach the high 30s and low 40s by the end of next week.

By Tuesday, highs in the eastern part of the country will be above average.

This article was originally published on NBCNews.com

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