Toe-tingling arctic air lingered over the East Tuesday, but a reprieve was in sight from the season's first big chill, which contributed to at least six deaths, stalled cars and burst pipes from the Great Lakes to the South.
The deep freeze taxed utilities, filled shelters for the homeless and gave some students a holiday when furnaces quit or buses froze. Schools were closed Tuesday in more than a dozen Kentucky counties because of snow-slickened roads.The subzero cold Tuesday set a record for the date in Albany, N.Y., where a reading of minus 5 exceeded the minus 1 record set in 1960.
On Monday, records for the date were set in 25 cities.
Temperatures were expected to warm into the 30s by Wednesday as a weather system nudges the arctic air east, said meterologist Brian Smith at the National Weather Service's Severe Storms Forecast Center in Kansas City, Mo.
By the morning, temperatures already had started rising. In Providence, R.I., it was 24 degrees at 9 a.m. Monday's high temperature was 20 degrees.
The warming trend wasn't enough for police in Burrillville, north of Providence, however. The station's six water pipes froze Monday, said Chief Wallace F. Lees. One pipe burst, flooding some rooms.
Many people took the cold in stride, pausing only to yank on an extra sweater or dig out a winter cap.
Elizabeth Vrotkoski and Mary Dobranski worked non-stop Monday selling cold weather gear at Boscov's department store in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., where it dropped to minus 5 degrees. By midafternoon, the women said they had sold 119 pairs of gloves, 40 scarves and 48 pairs of slippers.
The cold brought the plight of the homeless to the forefront, but some stayed away from shelters and sought cover in subways, parks or makeshift structures on city streets.