Bitter cold grips nation

January 21, 2008 4:40:36 PM PST
In parts of the northern U.S., it's not a good idea to venture outdoors for very long today.

The National Weather Service says readings in northern Maine were 20 to 30 degrees below zero this morning. In the northern Rockies, the reading was 32 below in Butte, Montana.

It was a much milder 16 below in International Falls, Minnesota -- but even after the sun came up, the wind chill made it fell like 29 below.

It's so cold in Chicago, Lake Michigan froze.

"Your face hurts, and your teeth hurt when you talk," said one Windy City resident.

Even the Gulf Coast is getting hit, with snow falling in Mississippi and Alabama for the first time in years.

Many homeless shelters around the country are full, but for the people staying on the streets, conditions can be fatal.

In Pittsburgh, where temperatures dipped to minus 5 degrees, a homeless woman named Stacy Lenzo was found dead Sunday under the Liberty Bridge, where she lived in a tent in a homeless encampment.

The cold also hampered firefighters trying to fight a blaze in Lawrence, Mass. A fire that started in an empty downtown nightclub quickly spread to a hair salon, a home for the disabled and several apartment buildings, and firefighters were faced with frozen hydrants. One person was injured in the blaze.

But some hearty souls found a silver lining in the freezing cold, like some bikini-wearing Green Bay fans at the NFL playoff game holding up signs saying they were going to Miami.

In Minneapolis, where the temperature plunged to minus 36 degrees Fahrenheit, hundreds of people from around the country came to play pond hockey.

A former Twin Cities resident said he had moved to a relatively balmy Alaska.

"Well, it's a little warmer there. That's why I moved away from Minnesota."