Arctic Cold, Snow, From Midwest to Florida

Joe Dietrich runs a snowblower repair shop in Bismarck, N.D., and said he had to turn away dozens of customers this week.

"My building is only so big and I can only take so many," he said.

The weather service issued wind chill advisories or warnings from North Dakota to the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, where temperatures were in the low 20s and winds came from the north at 25 to 30 mph. The biting winds in Texas caused widespread school closings. There were hard freeze warnings for the Gulf Coast from south Texas to Alabama, and "red flag" warnings for Florida, where the air was dry enough to bring the threat of wildfires.

We're Not Alone

And it's not just us. The south of England -- rarely snowed in because of the warmth of the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic -- is digging out from under nearly a foot of snow that fell on Tuesday night. Trading volume on the London Stock Exchange was reportedly down by about 20 percent Wednesday, partly because traders could not get to work.

Eurostar, the high-speed train line linking England to the European mainland by the tunnel beneath the English Channel, has had repeated troubles this winter because of snow getting into train engines. It ran into mechanical trouble again today, with a train from Brussels to London stalled in the tunnel for two hours.

On the other hand, forecasters reminded us, the cold snap is hardly global. In the remote desert town of Leonora, Western Australia, the temperature today topped 112 degrees F.

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