Midwest, South still in deep freezing; Pacific Northwest braces for ice. (Part-1)

Some regions of the country got a break from the cold Wednesday, but others were under winter chill advisories ahead of another arctic blow.

The National Weather Service issued widespread wind chill warnings and advisories for the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and South until Wednesday morning, expecting wind chills to plunge below 0. Southern states, notably the Gulf Coast, were warned of hard freezes that might damage water infrastructure and vulnerable vegetation.

A break from cold air will bring temperatures closer to winter averages. The meteorological service predicts "true" warmth across southern Texas and eastward with highs in the 60s and 70s.

By Thursday, freezing temperatures will return to the northern and central Plains, ending the relief. On Tuesday, Canadian arctic air delivered subfreezing temperatures to three-fourths of the nation, forcing school closures and traffic chaos. 

A winter weather advisory covered 68 million Americans, and two-year snow droughts in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C. ended. Tuesday saw almost 10,000 flight delays or cancellations.

In recent days, weather caused at least 20 deaths. Five Oregonians died from hypothermia and two from falling trees. A Utah truck hit a snowmobiler, a Wyoming avalanche killed a skier, and three Wisconsin residents died of suspected hypothermia. 

Two people died Tuesday after a snowplow hit their SUV on New Jersey's slick Garden State Parkway. On Tuesday, the Tennessee Department of Health reported six weather-related deaths.

Many businesses, offices, and schools in Washington, D.C., closed after 4 inches of snow. After the snowfall, the deep freeze began, with temperatures not expected to reach above freezing until Thursday. By Friday, another system could bring a weekend deep frost.

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