Freezing cold grips much of the country

(CBS News) NEW YORK - We're still a week away from Groundhog Day, but in much of the country, people don't need any help figuring out winter will be with them a while longer. They can feel it on their frozen faces. Again on Saturday night, temperatures are dropping below normal in much of the country. And there's more snow and ice to come.

At a volunteer tent on New York's Staten Island, Donna Graziano is helping Superstorm Sandy victims battle snow and bitter cold.

"These people are living on their second floors, have no first floor, have no means of cooking," she said. "Some don't have any heat. And the ones that have heat is going right through the walls."

The blustery mix of snow and ice Friday made driving conditions treacherous across the Northeast, Midwest and South.

In Knox County, Tennessee, a fire truck skidded off the road, crushing state trooper Michael Slagl and his vehicle. Slagl had suffered a heart attack and slid off the road. The fire truck coming to his aid skidded in the same place. Slagl died.

Video: Frigid weather batters Northern, Eastern U.S.

In Lexington, Kentucky, black ice and slippery roads caused another fire truck to flip on its side. Three firefighters were sent to the hospital.

It's been a week of arctic air that has left much of the nation in an icy grip. In Vermont, it was 20 degrees below zero with a frostier wind chill, and in Minnesota, some parts of the state dropped to 30 below. In New York City, temperatures remained below freezing all week.

How serious is this cold weather? "It's pretty serious," said Dr. Jeffrey Rabrich, the medical director of emergency medicine at St. Luke's Hospital. "You can get confusion, dizziness, people can pass out," he said. "Your heart could even stop if your temperature gets low enough."

Donna Graziano said the dangerously cold weather won't stop her from making sure that Sandy victims have hot meals and a place to get warm.

"It gives a place for the residents to come, sit down like a human being, and eat," she said.

Meanwhile, another major ice storm will bring freezing rain, sleet, and snow to the Midwest Saturday night and eventually move into the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Forecasters warn there could be widespread power outages and icy roads.

  • Terrell Brown

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