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Still shivering

NEED TO KNOW
  • Polar vortex continues to bring misery to much of country, but relief is in sight
  • Weekend could feel downright balmy
Still shivering

Stay safe! The best ways to beat the freeze

Stay safe! The best ways to beat the freeze

Storm coverage is 'snow' fun for these 9 reporters

Storm coverage is 'snow' fun for these 9 reporters

The polar vortex will soon be packing up his bags and heading back up North. 

For the last few days, most of the nation, including the Deep South, has been feeling the effects of a polar vortex, a blast of arctic air that's been bringing single-digit or sub-zero temperatures. In fact, Atlanta, Georgia and Cincinnati, Ohio have been colder than more northern cities, like Anchorage, Alaska.

The eastern third of the country is seeing temperatures 20 degrees below average, according to forecasters. Atlanta and Washington, D.C. have seen single digit temperatures. 

But, a high pressure area rising from the Southwest is about to knock the polar vortex back up to Canada, according to CNN meteorologist Jenny Harrison. "It really is a snap, just a few days of that really, really cold air," she says. 

By the weekend, New York, which saw a low of 4 degrees in Central Park Tuesday, will have highs in the 50s.

People in The Gulf Coast will be able to put their flip flops back on as the highs are expected to zoom into the 70s. 

But, in the meantime, The National Weather Service has issued a freeze warning for the area. 

READ MORE: 5 weather situations that are worse than yours

At least 16 deaths are blamed on the severe weather. Eleven people died in road accidents, a Wisconsin man died of hypothermia and an elderly woman with Alzheimer's disease in New York state wandered away from her home and was found dead in the snow in a wooded area.

READ MORE: 10 new Netflix additions to watch while you hibernate

About 500 rail passengers were stranded Monday night when their trains got stuck in snowdrifts in Northern Illinois, according to an Amtrak spokesman. 

Flightaware.com, which tracks cancellations due to weather and mechanical problems, said more than 3,000 flights per day were canceled at the peak, however as the temperatures continue to rise airports are seeing fewer and fewer cancellations. A Delta flight from Toronto skidded into a snow bank Sunday on a runway at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. No injuries were reported.

READ MORE: 17 dogs who can't get enough of the snow

CNN Wires contributed to this report.

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