Wind chill advisory lifted; travel still difficult - WNEM TV 5

Wind chill advisory lifted; travel still difficult

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM/AP) -

The arctic blast is easing its grip on much of the U.S., giving way to warmer, but still very chilly temperatures in many places.

Winds are expected to calm Wednesday and the weather's supposed to warm up slightly, a day after record temperatures -- some more than a century-old -- shattered up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

In Atlanta, where it hit a record low of 6 degrees early Tuesday, fountains froze over, a 200-foot Ferris wheel shut down and Southerners had to dig out winter coats. It shouldn't take too long to thaw out, though. The forecast Wednesday is sunny and 42 degrees.

In the Midwest and East, where brutal polar air has lingered over the past few days, temperatures were climbing, but still expected to be below freezing.

TV5 Meteorologist Lauren Fahrenkrug says temperatures will be in the mid teens on Wednesday, reaching the 30s by the weekend. Low temperatures will not see an improvement until Friday.

Michigan authorities blame the heavy snow and deep freeze for at least seven deaths -- four people who collapsed after shoveling snow and three killed in traffic accidents.

Flint police say that a 75-year-old man was digging out his car Tuesday when he collapsed. Johnson didn't release the man's name.

The Oakland County medical examiner's office says a 36-year-old Detroit man, a 57-year-old Milford man and a 67-year-old Pontiac woman all died after shoveling snow.

Police say a car slid in front of an oncoming propane tanker Monday in Otsego County, killing the car's passenger. Fifty-year-old Timothy Nixon of Hastings was killed by a car while walking Saturday in Barry County, and 27-year-old Branden Hewitt of Owendale died Saturday in a two-vehicle crash in Huron County.

Michigan regulators plan to investigate power outages stemming from a pre-Christmas holiday ice storm that knocked out service to about 660,000 customers.

The state Public Service Commission is expected to approve the order at a meeting Wednesday.

Scores of tree branches broke and fell from the weight of ice during the storm.

Consumers Energy and DTE Energy, Michigan's largest utilities, say they restored power within a week of the storm that hit Dec. 21-22. Customers without electricity for more than 120 hours may be eligible for a $25 credit.

In 2009, regulators told major utilities to make changes after residents were frustrated by long power outages caused by storms. Changes included better notifying customers of the $25 credit.

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