Arctic Cold Blasts Western States, Threatens Crops

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A winter storm is bringing bitterly cold temperatures to the western half of the country.

An arctic blast plunged temperatures as much as 40 degrees below normal in some areas. Forecasters say the cold weather is expected to spread south in the next few days.

"It's January-like cold, only it's early December," Bernie Rayno, senior meteorologist with Accuweather, said.

About two dozen states have winter watches or advisories. Northern Minnesota has already been slammed by two feet of snow.

"It's terrible. It's terrible," Duluth, Minn. resident Donny Degeberg, said.

Another Duluth resident, Liberty Martin, agreed.

"I was saying, 'Yeah, school's out!' It's wicked actually. I've never seen it like this before," he said.

Idaho has already seen 30 inches of snow fall. Across the Midwest the snow and ice are causing treacherous conditions on the highways. There have been hundreds of weather-related accidents, from Minnesota to Utah.

Areas of Montana and the Dakotas were forecast to reach lows in the negative 20s. In California, farmers are working to protect their crops as temperatures dip near freezing.

"We've got our crews ready, our water, our wind machines," California citrus grower John Gless said.

In Denver, Tuesday's high reached 56 degrees, but only four hours later it had dipped to the mid 20s.

Another cold front following close behind this one will cause the artic cold to linger. The forecasted high for Minneapolis on Friday is only 5 degrees.

The winter weather is expected to push south by Thursday. In Texas, temperatures are forecast to drop from the 80s into the 40s.

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