December 7, 2013 – ARKANSAS – At least 10 deaths — including three in California — were blamed on the deep freeze that continued to grip the U.S. on Friday, canceling hundreds of flights and leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power. The Santa Clara County, Calif., Sheriff’s Office said hypothermia — an extremely low body temperature — had killed three people since frigid conditions rolled in late Wednesday, NBC Bay Area reported. An earlier report from the medical examiner’s office said four people had died, but it included a person who was found dead last week, before the current weather system hit the region. With icy conditions stretching almost coast to coast, the cold blast was blamed for deaths as far east as Indiana, where a woman died in a four-vehicle crash in Wayne County, and as far south as Arkansas, where an ice-coated tree fell on the camper housing a 62-year-old man in Pope County, authorities told NBC News.
By midday, five states had recorded at least 2½ feet of snow since Wednesday. The highest total was 35 inches, near Two Harbors, Minn. Winter storm warnings covered parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The manager of a Home Depot store in Dallas concluded: “It’s almost like a Black Friday. But I guess we’ll call it an Ice Friday.” Only a slice of the East Coast was spared the winter blast. Elsewhere, the story was ice, snow and brutal cold. Big Sky Country woke up to double-take temperatures. It was 23 degrees below zero in Laramie, Wyo., and felt like 41 below. In Helena, Mont., the mercury fell to 10 below, with a wind child of minus-29. The big chill extended to parts of the country much less accustomed to it. Parts of Nevada were at 18 below zero, and parts of Oregon were at 9 degrees. In Flagstaff, Ariz., the temperature just before dawn was 7. Even “sunny” Southern California wasn’t being spared — the National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings for Riverside and San Bernardino counties beginning Saturday morning. Farmers pumped water into the soil to keep it from freezing and used wind machines to blow mild air across the citrus crop, most of which is still on the vine. Citrus in California is a $2 billion industry. Lettuce and avocados were also in danger. –NBC