Cold snap bites into US

NEW YORK — Arctic air gripped parts of the United States yesterday, making life miserable for people still without heat months after superstorm Sandy and turning steam from a nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania into a snowfall substantial enough to shovel.

In Ely, Minnesota, the latest in a string of frigid days plunged the mercury to 29 below zero Fahrenheit (minus 34 Celsius), according to the National Weather Service. The stunningly low temperature, which came without factoring in wind chill, was recorded under calm skies near Minnesota’s border with Canada, the weather service said.

‘Getting colder’

In Brooklyn, where about 200 homes slammed by Sandy remained without heat, “It’s just getting colder and colder,” said Doreen Greenwood-Garson, chief of the Gerritsen Beach Fire Department.

Nightly, the volunteer department has loaded its ambulance with donated space heaters and free hot meals and delivered them to shut-ins, said Greenwood-Garson, a real estate broker. Already it has given away a total of 60 space heaters and each night about 50 meals, she said.

In Long Beach on New York’s Long Island, the Martin Luther King Centre ran out of donated space heaters, said James Hodge, a city employee who is coordinating relief efforts there and is without heat in his own home.

“I even gave out my own personal heaters that I was sleeping with,” Hodge said.

He and his two brothers have been sleeping in several layers of clothes under piles of blankets near pots of hot water, their breath still visible in the cold of their home. (Reuters)

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