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Record Cold Grips East, Spreads to South

From Associated Press

A frigid air mass spread from the Great Lakes to New England and the South Monday, plunging temperatures to record lows and sending homeless people into shelters. Accidents on snowy roads were blamed for 10 deaths, and a woman warming her heatless home with candles died in a fire.

More than a foot of snow was responsible for hundreds of weekend traffic accidents in Ohio, authorities said. Wind-whipped snow caused hazardous driving conditions through much of Kansas.

Snow was falling Monday morning over parts of Minnesota and North Dakota. Snow was forecast for Wisconsin, a snow advisory was in effect for eastern Oklahoma and parts of Arkansas, and wintry weather was forecast for the Carolinas Monday night.

The cold air mass was so far-reaching that it produced predictions of snow over Mississippi, the National Weather Service said.

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The bitter temperatures forced hundreds of homeless off the streets in Detroit and into shelters, agencies reported.

“We’ve filled every bed we have. It usually gets worse when the weather gets colder--people who normally might not come here show up because they just can’t bear the cold,” said Edith Richardson, assistant supervisor of the 113-bed Detroit Rescue Mission.

In New York City, police only took four homeless people to shelters overnight. Three came in voluntarily, and a cold weather alert gave police the authority to remove the fourth from the streets against her will, said a department spokesman, Sgt. Maurice Howard.

The temperature in New York City’s Central Park hit 5 degrees, breaking the previous record for the date of 9 degrees, set in 1960.

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Thermometers also hit record lows in numerous cities across the central and northern Atlantic Coast states. Readings were below zero over most of New England, New York state, Pennsylvania, the central and northern Appalachians, lower Michigan and parts of Ohio, the weather service said.

Albany, N.Y., reached 12 below zero; Rochester, N.Y., recorded its third-coldest December temperature ever, 8 below zero, and Saranac Lake, N.Y., had the coldest temperature in the nation this morning, 28 below zero.

Other record lows: Allentown, Pa., 2 degrees; Baltimore, 12 degrees; Boston, 2 degrees; Detroit, 2 below zero; Elkins, W. Va., 10 below; Hartford, Conn., 3 below; Houghton Lake, Mich., 12 below; Newark, N.J., 6 degrees; Philadelphia, 8 degrees, and Wilmington, Del., 8 degrees.

The cold was a factor in scattered power outages that affected at least 2,900 customers in Connecticut.

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