INDIANAPOLIS — Frigid air that snapped decades-old records will make venturing outside dangerous for a second straight day Tuesday, this time spreading to southern and eastern parts of the U.S. and keeping many schools and businesses shuttered. Residents driven from their homes by power failures in the Midwest longed to return to their own beds.
Monday's subzero temperatures broke records for the date in Chicago, at minus 16, and Fort Wayne, Ind., where the mercury fell to 13 below. Records also fell in Oklahoma and Texas, and wind chills across the region were 40 below and colder. Officials in Indiana, already struggling with high winds and more than a foot of snow, urged residents to stay home.
"The cold is the real killer here," Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said Monday as he asked schools and businesses to remain closed for another day. "In 10 minutes you could be dead without the proper clothes."
The polar air started to invade the East and South on Tuesday.
Temperatures plunged to 8 degrees in Atlanta and 6 degrees below zero at a remote weather station in the north Georgia mountains — the lowest temperatures in the state for years. Temperatures hit lows in parts of West Virginia not felt for 25 years, while the extreme cold in Virginia beat record lows that had stood since the late 1950s. The National Weather Service said the mercury bottomed out at 3 degrees before sunrise at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshal International Airport, with a wind chill of minus 16. Wind chill is a calculation that describes the combined effect of the wind and low temperatures on exposed skin.