All agree: It’s cold, but could get colder across U.S.
Much of the U.S. continued to shiver and suffer in bitter cold Thursday. Temperatures and wind chills dipped near zero or below in the Midwest, Northeast and even the South — where people were most unaccustomed to the weather-related road hazards, school cancellations, public transportation and airport delays, and runs on supplies at stores.
The cold snap followed snow and ice storms earlier in the week. The low temperatures caused much freezing and refreezing of snow, ice and roads.
Most areas shouldn’t expect relief anytime soon — the National Weather Service warned that even colder weather could come later in the week as another cold front drops from Canada. That weather could be some of the coldest for parts of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, forecasters said.
Here’s a look at how people are handling the weather:
‘I heard her yelp’
Vytas Penkiunas, 77, of Annapolis, Maryland, was in his backyard Wednesday with his 19-month-old black Labrador retriever, Sweets, when he saw her walk onto the South River on Wednesday. He yelled at her to come back but she ignored him and soon after fell through, he said.
“I heard her yelp with her head sticking out, a feeble yelp,” Penkiunas said Thursday.
Penkiunas said he used his body to break through about 30 feet of ice as he used his feet underwater to try to find Sweets. He found her after about 20 minutes and was carrying the 70-pound dog to shore when he tripped and went under himself. Rescuers pulled them both from the water.
Police tried to resuscitate Sweets but said she was under the water too long and didn’t survive. Penkiunas was treated and released for exposure.
“It’s just kind of weighing on my mind. Could I have saved her any other way?” Penkiunas said
Enough ‘Frozen’ weather
The cold might not bother Disney’s Queen Elsa, but it’s wreaking enough havoc in Kentucky that a police department announced a joke warrant for the popular “Frozen” character’s arrest.
Police in the small, rural town of Harlan posted a Facebook message Wednesday about Elsa.
They wrote: “Suspect is a blonde female last seen wearing a long blue dress and is known to burst into song ‘Let it Go!’ As you can see by the weather she is very dangerous.”
Police soon posted another message, telling residents that all kidding aside, they should take the weather seriously and be careful.
Bad for business
The weather is wreaking havoc on the acclaimed restaurant scene in Portland, Maine.
Winters are already slow for most restaurants, with fewer tourists around. But after about 80 inches of snow in the city this winter and 18 on-street parking bans, even locals are staying home.
Harding Smith, owner of four restaurants, tells the Portland Press Herald that business is down 15 to 20 percent since mid-January.
High-end restaurants suffer because customers don’t want to walk through the snow in nice shoes and clothes.
But Becky’s Diner owner Becky Rand says she’s received steady business from police officers and plow drivers.
In southeastern Virginia, a program helps residents shovel out if they can’t do it themselves — but it says it needs more volunteers.
The Virginia Beach humanitarian organization Operation Blessing operates the “Snow Buddy” program and has set up a mobile command center because of high demand.
With parts of Virginia under nearly a foot of snow this week, the team has received more than 100 requests for snow removal. Priority is given to the elderly, sick, disabled and single mothers.
Arctic conditions have turned a geyser at a state park in western New York into a five-story-tall “ice volcano.”
The geyser is in a pond near the Glen Iris Inn at Letchworth State Park. Days of subzero temperatures have formed a solid cone of ice several feet thick with water still spouting out of the top.
Park officials tell local media that the formation is at least 50 feet high.
Winter is normally a quiet season for the park, known as the “Grand Canyon of the East” for its scenic gorges, but dozens of people are showing up daily to see the “volcano.”