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The Deep Freeze of 2010

Last updated at 11:50 p.m. Eastern time

The unyielding cold spell gripping much of the nation was expected to hang on tight over the weekend, though some areas that saw snowfall during the week were expected to have drier weather.

And the big picture? By the end of the weekend, 180 million Americans may shiver through record-setting cold. Sixty percent of Americans will see and feel temperatures 15 to 30 degrees below normal.

Multiple deaths have been blamed on this week's cold, including a 44-year-old man whose body was found face-down in the snow early Friday in Billings, Mont.

In Georgia, two teens died and a third was hospitalized Saturday after falling through the ice on a partially frozen pond in suburban Atlanta.

Rescuers said the three, ages 13 to 15, were playing and sliding on the semi-frozen pond in Dacula, Ga., when the ice broke Saturday afternoon.

Gwinnett County Fire and Emergency Services Capt. Tommy Rutledge said one of the boys escaped, but the other two got trapped under the ice and spent nearly an hour in the frigid water.

In Ohio, a winter storm warning was in effect until Saturday morning. That's on top of the snow that had already coated Interstate 70, where a tractor-trailer spun out of control Thursday, crossed the median and swerved into oncoming traffic, colliding with a small bus transporting adult disabled passengers, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Three passengers on the bus were killed, as was its driver. Six other passengers on the bus, which was carrying 11 people, were injured, as was the driver of the commercial truck, Sgt. Raymond Durant said.

In Omaha, Neb., two women died in separate incidents Friday morning after they were found lying in the snow. An Omaha man who collapsed while clearing snow from his driveway died after a letter carrier found him and attempted to revive him with CPR.

With its wind chill, Chicago will wake up to another frosty morning: a feels-like temperature of zero or below.

And even by Chicago standards, this is one ugly winter: 29 inches of snow so far, Chicago's average for an ENTIRE winter, reports CBS News correspondent Marcia Strassmann.

"The main roads are fine but the side roads, I'm thinking I should have took the bus," said driver Kimberlin Orticelli.

In Atlanta - more accustomed to winter temperatures in the low 50s - a glaze of ice coated roads Friday after light snow overnight melted and froze.

Icy roads - and the South's inexperienced winter drivers - combined to create pile-ups. Metro-Atlanta's police agencies reported hundreds of accidents yesterday, almost all of them weather-related. One pre-dawn crash near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport involved 29 cars and trucks.

Authorities said the continuing freeze called for renewed caution on the roadways.

"I wanted to stay home today, but my boss never called me back, so I thought I should try to get in," said Beth Ament, 30, who was fueling her car so she could get to a nearby transit station to take the train to her job in downtown Atlanta.

In Alabama, packed shelters brought out extra cots and opened doors for people fearful of the deadly cold.

"You have to be inside the way it is now. If you're not, they'll find you stiff," said Elizabeth Austin, a homeless woman who sought warmth at an inner-city Birmingham church.

Schools in at least 10 states were closed, as were many roads and government offices.

The National Weather Service said 5 to 7 inches of snow was expected Friday across western Pennsylvania. In Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, it had snowed every day since New Year's, a stretch that meteorologists say is unusual.

Travel was beginning to return to normal Friday at Chicago's airports, after a storm that dumped about 8 inches of snow. The Chicago Department of Aviation said there were still minor delays at O'Hare International Airport because crews had to deice aircraft before they could take off.

Some Nebraska cities were cut off because highways leading in and out of town were blocked or all but impassable.

Amtrak announced that its train between Chicago and Denver wouldn't operate Friday because of blowing and drifting snow in Nebraska.

The westbound Amtrak Zephyr finally pulled into Denver on Friday 24 hours late, including an unplanned 12-hour stop in Hastings, Neb., where the train ran into a snow bank, reports CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

"We felt like prisoners," said passenger Bobby Lantell. "Like, we're entrapped."

Snowfall was heaviest in Minnesota and parts of South Dakota, where some drifts were too big for snowplow drivers to clear.

Nowhere was it colder than in Bismarck, N.D., where wind chills hit 52 below zero Thursday and the temperature reached 14 below. Wind chills were still near 50 below in the Dakotas on Friday.

While North Dakotans get plenty of practice bundling up, folks in other parts of the country were still learning the basics.

In Mobile, Ala., hit by a rare arctic chill on the coast, Salvation Army spokesman Stacey Killingsworth said shelters were "filled to the brim." One that normally holds up to 28 homeless men a night has been averaging 115 in recent days, she said.

"We don't turn anyone away, including women and children. We've used cots and mats. We've put people in the auditorium and hallways," she said.

In Florida's Panhandle, vapor was rising off the Gulf as warm water met the frigid air.

"It's so cold that sparrows that have crawled under the plastic on our heated deck don't want to leave," said Scooter Montgomery, manager of Peg Leg Pete's Oyster Bar on Pensacola Beach.

The big chill could bring historic lows - and ruin to the state's $9 billion citrus industry.

Below 28 degrees, the crops are at risk. Tomorrow morning's expected low in Orlando? 27 degrees.

Protection Against Hypothermia

As temperatures hover around zero degrees and wind chills fall well below that, Nebraska's chief medical officer, Joann Schaefer, warned that hypothermia develops when a person is exposed to severe cold without having enough protection, causing the body temperature to drop below 95 degrees. Babies and the elderly are most at risk.

Schaefer says it's important to dress warmly, get enough food and fluids, and stay active to maintain body heat when in the extreme cold.

Symptoms of developing hypothermia include poor coordination, slurred speech, blue or puffy skin, dilation of the pupils, and a weak or irregular pulse.