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article imageBrutal weather forces homeless people off the street in east

By Nathan Salant     Jan 8, 2015 in Environment
Huntsville - Got homeless? The eastern U.S. has stumbled upon one way to solve the problem, short of actually spending enough money, that is; winter.
Freezing cold weather moving south from Canada and the Great Lakes has plunged eastern states into a winter deep freeze, with temperatures in the single digits (Fahrenheit) complete with high winds.
It's too cold even for the most hardy of us — homeless people living on the streets in northern and southern U.S. states.
Cities throughout the region have opened emergency shelters and police in New Jersey have been authorized to order homeless residents indoors, according to the Associated Press.
In Huntsville, Ala., where hundreds live in 15 small tent cities located around town, workers for nonprofit First Stop Inc. distributed dozens of blankets and appealed to residents to come in out of the cold.
"We've got snow flurries as the temperatures continue to drop so they're coming in," Clete Wetli, First Stop's executive director, told the AP.
"The last thing we want is for someone to get hypothermia or die of frostbite," he said.
But everyone faces some of the same complications with freezing temperatures and precipitation: Roads are hazardous and many schools will be cancelled.
In Pennsylvania, an 18-vehicle pileup that involving nine trucks and nine cars killed two and left 20 injured on rural Interstate 80 in Clarion Township.
At least one of the trucks carried hazardous material but no leaks were reported, the AP said.
Three of the injured were in serious condition, state police said.
School districts throughout the region have been delaying classes or cancelling them altogether, including the Detroit area, where several districts cancelled all classes after the temperature dropped to 8F on Wednesday.
Catoosa County, Georgia, delayed the start of classes by two hours Thursday and asked students to wait indoors for buses to pick them up.
Bus drivers also were asked to stop at students' homes and blow their horns if requested, the AP said.
Temperatures below zero with the wind chill have been forecast in Alabama, North Carolina and states in the Midwest and Great Plains, with snow in many places.
Farther north, seven-degree temperatures were predicted for New York City and below-zero with wind chill for southern New England, although the region is not expected to get snow.
Last year at this time, some areas of the northeast were experiencing polar air and digging out from two feet of snow, the AP said.
More about Weather, Brutal, Cold, Winter, Alabama
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