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Arctic Blast Causes Disruption Across U.S. as Death Toll Rises

A deadly arctic blast is impacting people across the U.S. Here, snow blankets the Washington, D.C. region on Jan. 19, 2024. Credit - Carolyn Van Houten—The Washington Post/Getty Images

Winter snow storms have continued to bring dangerous conditions to swaths of the U.S. over the weekend, after a barrage of extreme weather already left some Americans with no water or power.

Storms and icy conditions over the past few weeks have proved fatal, with at least 67 weather-related deaths reported across the U.S., per the Associated Press.

In Oregon, where the governor declared an emergency on Thursday, the treacherous wintry conditions killed at least 10 people. The victims include a pregnant woman, her boyfriend, and her brother, who were electrocuted while trying to get away on slick concrete from a power line that fell on their car. A neighbor saved the couple’s nine-month-old baby, with both miraculously escaping unscathed, the AP reported.

The National Weather Service issued multiple extreme winter weather warnings across the country. While this weekend’s arctic outbreak was not expected to be as cold as the previous one, the agency predicted Sunday morning would start with a “deep freeze engulfing much of the eastern two-thirds of the country” with sub-freezing temperatures reaching as far south as central Texas and northern Florida and sub-zero temperatures across the northern Midwest.

An ice storm warning was in place in Oregon until 4 p.m. Sunday. The number of customers in the state without power—which had stood at more than 31,000 midday Saturday—had dropped to under 9,000 by Sunday mid-morning, according to PowerOutage.us.

Freezing rain and sleet were expected to hit Oklahoma and Kansas Sunday evening and then move into the Midwest on Monday, the National Weather Service said.

Most of the South, normally used to mild winters, experienced a freeze alert over Saturday night. In Alabama, some residents were marooned at home all week as ice coated roadways, making them impassable.

In Tennessee, at least 25 people died because of the weather as of Sunday, authorities told the AP. Frozen pipes burst and significantly dropped water pressure in Memphis, leading to Memphis Light, Gas and Water issuing a boil notice to customers as a precaution.

Temperatures are expected to warm up in the middle of the country throughout Sunday, with the arctic blast shifting eastward and to the mid-Atlantic region by Monday, the National Weather Service said.

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