Cold Weather to Stick Around, Threatens Fla. Crops

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Winter has just begun, and the deep freeze that has swept over much of the country may be sticking around for a while.

The dangerously cold air mass has slammed into 32 states, leading to winter weather watches and warnings that stretch all the way from New England south to the Gulf Coast.

Cold temperatures were forecast to last through the weekend with wind-chills expected to drop into the negative numbers. It is one of the most severe arctic blasts to hit parts of the nation in 25 years.

In the eastern U.S., sub-freezing temperatures have been compounded by heavy snow.

In parts of New York, snow has been falling for 10 straight days.

Between 5 and 6 inches of new snow is also expected in parts of Ohio.

Throughout central and south Florida, farmers are trying to salvage millions of dollars worth of citrus and vegetable crops. They are spraying them to form protective layers of ice and also covering plants wtih plastic sheeting. Severe crop damage could mean higher produce prices later at the grocery store.

"I didn't have a good sleep last night and I will not have a good night's sleep tonight," said citrus farmer Stan Carter. "Just enough to keep you on your toes and vigilant."

In Tennessee, four deaths were blamed on the cold.

"Deaths from hypothermia is commonplace in these type of temperatures," said Memphis Fire Dept. Chief Gary Ludwig

In New Jersey, ice in the cooling system forced the shutdown of a nuclear power plant.

Laborers who must work outside are doing their best to stay warm.

"It's mind over matter," said United States Postal Service worker Ollie Brown. "We do this outside. This is my office. And you just make adjustments."

Forecasters said this freeze is expected to hang around through the week. By then, it is expected to have impacted every major city from the Continental Divide to the Gulf Coast to the Atlantic seaboard.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.