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Death Toll From Deep Freeze Tops 20; Warm-Up Is Coming

A man walks through a steam cloud in frigid cold temperatures Tuesday in Manhattan.
Brendan McDermid
A man walks through a steam cloud in frigid cold temperatures Tuesday in Manhattan.

The deaths of at least 21 people are now being blamed on the winter storms and severe cold weather that have gripped much of the nation since late last week, The Associated Press reported early Wednesday.

At least half have been attributed to weather-related traffic accidents. The wire service adds that:

"Authorities reported at least 21 cold-related deaths across the country since Sunday, including seven in Illinois and six in Indiana. At least five people died after collapsing while shoveling snow, while several victims were identified as homeless people who either refused shelter or didn't make it to a warm haven soon enough."

Thankfully, as we reported on Tuesday, warmer temperatures are coming. The that over the next 24 to 48 hours, "temperatures will begin to warm as the arctic airmass responsible for the recent bitterly cold outbreak begins to moderate."

According to CNN, the much-discussed polar vortex ( which we explain here) will be pushed back up to Canada over the next few days by "a blustery high pressure area rising from the Southwest to the Northeast."

You can see the warming trend that's expected in for several cities:

-- Minneapolis will warm from a high of 1 degree today to 19 degrees on Thursday and 31 degrees on Friday.

-- Chicago will have a high of 15 degrees today, 27 degrees on Thursday and 37 degrees on Friday.

-- Atlanta is expected go from a high of 43 degrees today to a relatively balmy 63 degrees by Saturday.

-- Washington, D.C., will warm from a high of 33 degrees today to 64 degrees on Saturday.

-- New York City is going to go from 25 degrees today to 42 degrees on Thursday and 55 degrees on Saturday.

-- Boston will warm from 24 degrees today to 52 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.


-- It's So Cold That You Might Need A Sweater To Read This

-- It's So Cold That Hell Freezes Over

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.