Winter Weather Update: Hard Freeze from Canada to Gulf of Mexico

Arctic Air reaches from Canada to Gulf of Mexico.

ByNed Potter
January 08, 2010, 12:10 PM

Jan. 8, 2010 — -- You have to feel for the people of Pittsburgh. It has snowed there on every day but one since Dec. 27.

But Pittsburghers can take cold comfort that they're not alone: the winter of 2010 is not letting up anywhere. The National Weather Service said the forecast high for Kansas City today was 6 degrees, and 8 degrees for Minneapolis-St. Paul. It was colder in Atlanta (19 degrees) than in Anchorage (33; they're having a warm spell).

And the snow keeps coming. The city of Omaha reported that a quarter of its snowplows are in the shop for repairs.

"Since Dec. 2 -- that's what, 32 days -- I've had one day off," said Mike Rief, a snowplow driver there, as he made another run.

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The big chill has, for the most part, not been record-setting, but it has been relentless. A cold front moved off the East Coast this morning, making for a messy rush hour in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, and behind it is the mass of Arctic air, coming south from Canada, that forecasters have been promising.

New York, which has muddled through with daytime temperatures in the 30s, is in for a frigid weekend, with temperatures unlikely to break through the upper 20s and steady north winds of 10-15 mph.

The National Weather Service issued "hard freeze" warnings again for the Gulf Coast, from south Texas to the Florida Panhandle. New Orleans -- where the subtropical climate means many people don't even own heavy coats -- is forecast to have a low temperature overnight of 27 degrees.

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In Indianapolis, where today's high was forecast for 22 degrees, Bill Elliott watched helplessly as his sporting goods store burned to the ground -- while firefighters struggled with frozen hydrants.

"All the stuff we had in there, it's a total loss," he said. "I didn't think it would burn like this, ever."

Nebraska farmers have literally been up all night, trying to make sure their cattle are safe.

"Sometimes you only get a few hours of sleep, and then you keep going for the next day to keep 'em alive and keep 'em going," said Mary Meister of Timmerman Feeding Corp., which operates feed lots around the state.

Winter Cold: Still Blowing

"It's hard to describe. It cuts right through, it'll stop you in your tracks," said a man on "Good Morning America" today.

North winds have been relentless, averaging over 20 mph from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The calmest part of the contiguous 48 states has been the West Coast; Los Angeles will have highs in the low 70s through at least Monday.

There is relief in sight for the nation's midsection. The cold has penetrated so far south until now because the jet stream has formed a giant S-curve over the country. But by next week forecasters say it will gradually shift eastward.

That still means frosty weather for the Eastern Seaboard, but warmer weather, at last, for much of the Midwest.

ABC News' Barbara Pinto contributed reporting for this story.

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