Brutal cold torments the US, and ‘the worst is yet to come’

Across much of the United States, you’d feel warmer stepping into a walk-in freezer than you would stepping outside on Tuesday.

And the brutal chill that is freezing much of the country will get even more miserable later this week.

On New Year’s Day, temperatures across 90% of the United States didn’t even get up to 32 degrees, CNN meteorologist Ivan Cabrera said.

“The cold is here to stay and the worst is yet to come,” CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said.

You know it’s bad when even Dallas can’t get above freezing. In fact in all 50 states — including Hawaii — there was at least one place that recorded a temperature below 32 degrees on Tuesday.

Hard freeze warnings remain in effect through Wednesday in typically balmy states, from Texas to northern Florida, the National Weather Service said.

And for the rest of the week, temperatures far below normal and dangerous cold wind chills will afflict much of the central and eastern United States.

Exactly how cold is it? It’s so cold that:

Water parks are closed in Florida

So much for that Florida vacation to escape the cold. Several water parks in Orlando are closed because of the extreme temperatures, CNN affiliate Spectrum News 13 reported.

On the Florida Panhandle, Panama City’s high temperature Tuesday will be 43 degrees, about the same as that in Anchorage, Alaska (42 degrees).

The frigid temperatures could endanger crops such as citrus fruit, peppers and strawberries, Florida Department of Agriculture spokesman Aaron Keller said.

“The further south you go, the less cold tolerant the crops get,” Keller said. “If the cold weather predictions go below Orlando, it could be a problem.”

Snow could fall on South Carolina beaches

In Charleston, South Carolina, “It could be snowing on the beach in the next couple of days,” Cabrera said Tuesday.

The Southeast will stay 10 to 15 degrees below average temperatures through the weekend, Ward said.

Delta is offering travel waivers for those flying to and from 14 cities in the Southeast, the airline said.

Texas may have deadly conditions

El Paso police say a male was found dead Monday after “possible exposure to elements.” The low temperature in that city on Monday was 28 degrees.

Schools are closing in several states

Indianapolis Public Schools and Cincinnati Public Schools canceled classes for Tuesday, sparing kids from waiting for the school bus in subfreezing conditions.

But by the end of the week, temperatures will be near zero again in the Great Lakes region, CNN meteorologist Monica Garrett said.

In West Virginia, the Wirt County school district had to close because of a water main burst, Superintendent Mary Jane Pope Albin said.

New York and Boston will drop to about 0 degrees

Get ready, New York City. Your temperatures will keep plunging through the week. On Friday and Saturday, the “high” temperatures are 14 and 10. Your low temperatures on both days will be 2 degrees.

Boston is expected to freeze below 0 degrees on Saturday, Ward said.

In these conditions, it’s easy to succumb to hypothermia.

And just a few minutes outside with uncovered skin can lead to frostbite, the National Weather Service said.

If you suspect you have frostbite, go indoors immediately — but don’t make some common mistakes.

“Do not use hot water or radiant heat such as a fireplace since affected areas can be easily burned,” the weather service said. “Seek medical attention for severe frostbite.

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