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 Friday, 24 January, 2003, 18:02 GMT
US east coast freezes over
North Carolina beach in the snow
North Carolina experienced more than one foot of snow

Arctic weather conditions are causing misery and chaos in much of America.

Homeless man in Washington DC
Not all homeless could find adequate shelter
The eastern two-thirds of the nation, from the New England states to Florida, has been hit with freezing air bringing record cold temperatures.

New Yorkers have been shivering in record sub-zero temperatures for 10 days now, causing pipes to burst, boilers to blow and driving homeless people into shelters.

The whole of the eastern seaboard is caught up in this cold snap.

In some places, the temperatures hit lows of -6 degrees Celsius (21 degrees Fahrenheit) with the wind chill factor.

Crops at risk

Even residents as far south as Florida have had to swap t-shirts and shorts for warm coats.

The state's winter vegetable crops are also at risk.

Farmers are hurrying to harvest as much as possible before any damage is done.

In the outer banks of North Carolina, usually immune to such bone-chilling temperatures, residents were digging themselves out of more than 30 centimetres (one foot) of snow.

Elsewhere, hundreds of accidents have been reported and schools forced to close.

And in Kansas City, Missouri, a major bridge was suspected of buckling due to the cold weather.

See also:

05 Dec 02 | Americas
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