A winter storm in the U.S. that left millions without power in record-breaking cold weather claimed more lives on Tuesday. Three people were found dead after a tornado hit a seaside town in North Carolina while four family members perished in a house fire in Houston while using a fireplace to stay warm.
The storm that overwhelmed power grids and immobilized the region of Southern Plains carried heavy snow and freezing rain into New England and the Deep South and left behind painfully low temperatures. Wind-chill warnings extended from Canada into Mexico. In all, at least 16 deaths were reported. Other causes included car crashes and carbon monoxide poisoning.
The weather also threatened to affect the nation's COVID-19 vaccination effort. President Joe Biden's administration said delays in vaccine shipments and deliveries were likely.
Treacherous weather will maintain its grip on many parts of the United States from Tuesday through Friday, with up to 10 cm of snow and freezing rain expected from the Southern Plains into the northeast, forecasters said.
An Arctic air mass that descended over much of the country pushed temperatures to historic lows on Tuesday, said Meteorologist Lara Pagano of the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland. In Lincoln, Nebraska, a reading of minus 35 degrees Celsius on Tuesday shattered a record set in 1978 of minus 27 degrees Celsius.