Death toll rises as Arctic blast keeps the Midwest in a deep freeze

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Millions across the Midwest experienced a freeze normally reserved for the Arctic Circle as temperatures dropped to nearly 50 degrees below zero Wednesday. The frightful cold, bottoming out too record lows Thursday Morning, was blamed for several deaths across the region, and fears for the most vulnerable populations soared.

The nearly unthinkable temperatures caused airline gas lines to freeze, led to the collapse of electrical grids, and kept much of the northern United States homebound. Power outages roiled swaths of Wisconsin and Iowa, plunging thousands into a brief, unheated darkness. The dry, frigid air froze exposed water instantly, led to spontaneous nosebleeds, and made even brief forays outdoors extremely hazardous.

Officials across multiple states have linked at least six deaths to the weather, including several people who may have frozen to death in MilwaukeeDetroit and Rochester, Minn. Authorities said a reported death in Peoria, Ill. may have also been weather-related.

In Iowa City, University of Iowa officials said an “unresponsive” student had been discovered behind an academic hall and later died at the hospital. Authorities haven’t released a cause of death, but police told a local TV station they believe the extreme weather was a factor; and  that the air temperature at the time the student was found was minus-22, with a wind chill of minus-51.

Source: Washinton Post

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