ROCHESTER, N.Y. – A deep Arctic freeze refused to relinquish its grip over the Northeast and Midwest early Tuesday, keeping teeth chattering and temperatures at bone-chilling lows.
At least three weekend deaths were blamed on the cold in Michigan.
After a relatively mild winter in the Northeast, brisk winds made it feel as cold as minus-20 degrees in western New York and minus-45 degrees in the Adirondacks in northern New York.
"To some people this is quite a shock, but much of our hardy upstate population is used to this. They knew it would come eventually," Buffalo's chief meteorologist, Tom Niziol, said Monday.
Cold air rushing over Lake Ontario and Lake Erie produced as much as 14 inches of snowfall in ski-resort communities in western and central New York.
Upstate New York "has had a great winter so far — now we're getting the real deal!" James Lattimore said cheerfully as he cleared a half-foot of snow off the pavement in front of his brother's apartment in Rochester's Corn Hill section.
The cold blast will extend through Tuesday, with temperatures spiking as high as 30 degrees Wednesday. "Then we go back into a deep freeze for the end of the week with temperatures not making it out of the teens," Niziol said.
Temperatures were well below normal Tuesday across Michigan, the National Weather Service (search) said. Detroit Metropolitan Airport (search), where the normal low is 17 degrees, had an early Tuesday reading of 1 degree.
In Michigan's Wayne County, a man in his 50s who was believed to be homeless was found frozen to death Sunday in a grassy area near a sidewalk.
In Oceana County in western Michigan, a 24-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman were found dead Saturday, apparently from carbon monoxide from a propane heater used to heat a trailer.
The frozen body of Kathryn Jeanne Gates was found in Minneapolis on Sunday morning, hours after her motorized scooter tipped over and she was unable to get back up, police said. Overnight temperatures were below zero. An autopsy was planned for Tuesday to determine the cause of death.
On Monday, the mercury in Minnesota flirted with the state's record low. The temperature dropped to 54 degrees below zero in Embarrass — not cold enough for a record, but cold enough to drive homeless people into shelters and cause hundreds of car batteries to fail.
The chill was felt as far south as Florida, where low temperatures Tuesday morning were reported in the high 20s and low 30s for northern Florida.