NASHVILLE, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A huge swath of bitterly cold weather began its cross-country move Tuesday as Tennessee officials blame frigid conditions for at least two deaths.
Police in Nashville said an elderly man with Alzheimer's disease apparently went into his yard, where he was found Monday, while officials in Bartlett, Tenn., said a man was found dead by railroad tracks, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Tuesday. Officials blamed both deaths on extreme cold.
Several homeless shelters in the Nashville area reported turning up to 75 people away a night since the cold kicked in.
Meanwhile, forecasters at AccuWeather.com said the winter of 2009-2010 could be the worst winter in a quarter-century.
"It'll be like the great winters of the '60s and '70s," said Joe Bastardi, AccuWeather.com chief meteorologist and long-range forecaster.
Half of the United States was stuck in the deep-freeze for another day, experiencing temperatures similar to January 1985, Bastardi said. However, he said the winter could be closer to that of 1977-78, when nearly all of the United States east of the Rockies experienced a cycle of cold-warm-cold.
Orr, Minn., had a breath-stealing minus-40 degrees Monday, claiming the honor of being the coldest spot in the nation. Other places recording new lows included Bluefield, W.Va., where the temperature never topped 17 degrees, AccuWeather.com reported.
The new storm, now over the Northwest, will criss-cross the United States as the week progresses, bringing with it between 1-3 inches of snow from the northern Rockies over much of the Plains, Midwest and East, forecasters said. Even areas of the South could see some flurries.
In some areas of the South, where the snow falls and melts, plunging temperatures could cause a flash freeze and dangerous road conditions, forecasters said.