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Bitter Cold Is Breaking Records —and Windows

Sharks are freezing, too
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2017 11:04 AM CST
Bitter Cold Is Breaking Records —and Windows
In this Wednesday, Dec. 27, 2017, photo, Vrooman Road northbound is closed to traffic in Ohio.   (Lynn Ischay/The Plain Dealer via AP)

(Newser) – Just how cold is it across much of North America? Sharks are freezing to death and windows are cracking. Weather.com notes daily record cold high temperatures were tied or set in 29 spots from the Midwest to the South and East on Thursday, including in Baltimore, Boston, and New York City, while daily record lows of 12 degrees Fahrenheit were set at JFK and LaGuardia Airports early Friday. More records could be broken over New Year's weekend as the cold weather keeps up. Details:

  • Freezing sharks: Weather was a factor in two deaths in Chicago and a car crash that killed four in Kansas, per the New York Times. Three thresher sharks also died near Cape Cod, likely when their gills froze. "If you've got cold air, that'll freeze their gills up very quickly," says one marine scientist.
  • Windows are breaking: Mashable reports it's so cold that house windows are cracking in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. AOL notes that glass can contract in extremely cold temperatures.
  • Cold criminals: Police in Ohio say two teens in Akron hid away in a JC Penney as it closed Thursday, stole jewelry, then smashed their way out a glass door. They might have gotten away with it had they not flagged down police about 1:30am to get out of the frigid temps. Stolen goods were found in their possession at the hospital, reports WKYC.

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  • Snow in Tampa? Snow is possible in South Carolina and Georgia between Tuesday and Wednesday, per WTSP. Florida could see snow between Wednesday and Thursday, including in Tampa, which has seen snow accumulate only twice on record.
  • Chilly ball drop: ABC News predicts Times Square will see its coldest ball drop since 1962 at 10 degrees, with a wind chill of -4. New England and the Northern Plains could see a wind chill of -20 to -40.
  • This is not normal: Cities including Chicago, Nashville and Little Rock, Ark., are expected to see temperatures 15 to 20 degrees below average, according to AccuWeather.com. Chicago may even tie its coldest high temperature for Jan. 1 at 5 degrees, a record set in 1969.

  • How to stay warm: NPR rounds up some tips from Reddit users. Among them: carry matches rather than a lighter if you might need to light a pilot, because the lighter may not work in freezing temperatures.
  • Space heater safety: Make sure space heaters are away from flammable materials, per WRAL. They should also be unplugged before bed, if possible.
  • Don't forget animals: CBS Philadelphia notes it's important to keep pets warm, too, with coats and booties. It adds animal shelters may be able to care for your pets if you are unable.
The president thinks it's time for "good old Global Warming," a sentiment not playing well with scientists. (Read more winter weather stories.)

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