A dangerous and life-endangering deep freeze is threatening millions of lives as the portions of the USA affected by the Arctic blast widens and intensifies. Daily records have been set in several places across and forecasters predict hundreds more could be matched or broken this week. So far, at least five people have been killed on the icy roads, including an 8-year-old girl in Kansas.
The ferocious storm has gripped many parts of the US from the Great Plains to the East Coast and north through New England.
The cold snap is forecast to spread farther south, reaching the Texas coast in what has been described as an “arctic outbreak” by the National Weather Service (NWS).
The NWS said: “The Arctic airmass that has settled into the Plains will continue to spread record cold temperatures south and eastward into the Ohio Valley and down into the southern Plains.
“Low temperatures in the teens and 20s will be common along much of the East Coast, the Ohio Valley, and down as far south as the upper Texas coast, making it feel like the middle of winter for these areas.”
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In total, around 300 cold weather records are expected to be matched or broken by Wednesday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts 30 percent of the US will be covered by snow by this point.
So far, daily records set in several states, including Kansas and Illinois have been broken as more than 1,000 flights have been cancelled.
Schools have also been closed in several areas as the NWS said the air mass will continue to spread from the Plains towards the East Coast.
Snow was seen as far south as Richmond in Virginia and Nashville in Tennessee.
Rare snowfall was even seen in the Texas town of Brownsville, on the US-Mexico border.
Currently, at least five deaths have been attributed to the snow.
In Kansas, one person was killed in a head-on car crash south of Kansas City on Monday morning when the driver lost control on an icy highway and crossed the centre of the road.
The truck hit an SUV head-on, killing an eight-year-old girl and injuring three others.
In Michigan, officials reported three people had been killed in a car crash involving two cars outside Lansing on Monday morning.
The Eaton County Sheriff’s Office said the victims included a man, 57, and two women, aged 64 and 81.
A woman was killed in a car crash on Interstate 80 in Richfield, Ohio, on Tuesday morning.
Ciearra Money Audrey Brown was involved in a 16-car crash around 8.45am and the 21-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Township of Richfield.