Bundle up: Bitter cold weather takes hold of northern US

ERIE, Pa. (AP) - 10 a.m.

The bitter cold that's sweeping much of the country this week underscores a stark reality for low-income Americans who rely on heating aid: Their dollars aren't going to go as far this winter.

The Department of Energy has projected energy fuel costs are going to track upward. That falls on the heels of two winters when costs were relatively low.

Mark Wolfe is an official with the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association. He says the good news is that President Donald Trump has released 90 percent of the energy assistance funding. Trump previously tried to eliminate the program altogether.

Wolfe says he is urging lawmakers to press to release the rest of the money.

The temperature without the wind chill factored in hit minus 32 on Thursday morning in Watertown, New York. Across the Northeast, homeless shelters are bringing in extra beds and staff members.

International Falls and Hibbing, Minnesota, set record lows Wednesday at minus 37 and minus 28, respectively.

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Bitter cold weather has taken hold of much of the northern United States and is expected to stay put for days to come.

Forecasters are warning of hypothermia and frostbite from arctic air settling in over the central U.S. and spreading east.

The National Weather Service reports International Falls and Hibbing, Minnesota, set record low temperatures Wednesday. International Falls, the self-proclaimed Icebox of the Nation, plunged to 37 degrees below zero, while Hibbing bottomed out at 28 below.

The freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chills come as people in Erie, Pennsylvania, continue to dig out from a storm that has dumped more than 65 inches on the city.

Meanwhile, wind chill advisories or warnings are in effect for much of New England, northern Pennsylvania and New York.

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