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New year off to a freezing cold start across the South

January 1, 2018

ATLANTA (AP) — The new year got off to a freezing cold start across the South.

Revelers shivered as they celebrated New Year’s Eve, and the frigid weather continued into New Year’s Day on Monday. And the cold was expected to linger, with highs forecast to stay in the 30s and 40s and lows plunging into the teens and 20s with wind chill factors making it feel even colder at least through Friday.

Warming shelters were open across the South as freeze watches and warnings blanketed the region, including hard freeze warnings for much of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Emergency management officials urged people to take precautions against the cold temperatures, reminding them to bring pets inside, to protect exposed pipes and to be vigilant when using electric space heaters.

College football fans from the University of Central Florida and Auburn University braved temperatures hovering around 20 degrees Monday morning to tailgate before the Peach Bowl.

The National Weather Service predicted temperatures in the low 20s with wind chills dipping into single digits Monday night in New Orleans, where the University of Alabama was set to face Clemson University in the Sugar Bowl semifinal.

Light rain and mist and temperatures below freezing caused an icy mess in the North Carolina mountains on New Year’s Eve. Traffic on Interstates 26 and 40 came to a standstill for several hours Sunday after wrecks and heavy holiday traffic made it harder to treat the slick spots. Some New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebrations were cancelled due to dangerous travel conditions.

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