Deep Freeze Engulfs East, South
State of emergency declared in NY
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2014 4:38 AM CST
Updated Jan 7, 2014 7:54 AM CST
Snow falls on Detroit yesterday.   (AP Photo/Detroit Free Press, Jarrad Henderson)
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(Newser) – The "polar vortex" deep freeze is spreading to the East Coast and bringing record low temperatures to the Deep South after causing misery in the Midwest, where it got so cold that a Chicago zoo had to move its polar bear and penguins inside, CNN reports. Some 15 deaths have been blamed on the cold, including 11 in traffic accidents.

  • Thousands of schools and businesses are staying closed and homeless shelters are overflowing, with shelter operators scrambling to open warming centers to accommodate people trying to escape the severe cold, reports Reuters,

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has declared a state of emergency in 14 counties and warned that parts of the New York State Thruway will be closed. In New York City, where it was 55 degrees yesterday, temperatures are expecting to plunge as far as minus 6, equaling a record low for the day, the New York Times notes.
  • The Arctic air caused the cancellation of more than 5,000 flights yesterday, with many more expected today. Airlines say that things have been made even more complicated by new FAA rules requiring pilots to have more rest time.
  • As the East and South hunker down, the focus in the Midwest has switched to recovery, the AP finds. Flights are beginning to resume and temperatures are expected to climb above freezing later in the week.