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First deep freeze of season here

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    RON GOWER/TIMES NEWS Lily, a shorkie, has a mask of snow on her face while playing outdoors in a backyard in Summit Hill, Friday afternoon. Four inches of snow fell in the borough yesterday and this weekend will bring a strong dose of frigid air, causing single-digit temperatures.
Published January 09. 2010 09:00AM

This may be a good weekend to take down those interior Christmas decorations but if you must do any of that kind of work outdoors, make sure you're well protected from the elements.

Temperatures, especially overnight, will be the coldest of the season this weekend. In most of the region tonight, the temperature will struggle to make it to double digits. The wind chill values will plunge as low as 7 below after midnight.

Despite plenty of sunshine, Sunday's daytime temperatures will be in the low twenties while overnight, it will again dip down to 10 degrees.

Blustery winds will also make it hard to endure the outdoors for very long.

Most parts of Pennsylvania woke up to at least a coating of white Friday morning, with more substantial snowfall in higher elevations. Summit Hill had four inches of new snow by sunset Friday.

PennDOT crews worked throughout the day to keep the roadways passable. Adding to their woes was a steady wind which caused the newfallen snow to drift.

Western Pennsylvania has been hit hard in the stormy new year. In Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas, it had snowed every day since New Year's, a stretch that meteorologist say is unusual.

Temperatures in western Pennsylvania haven't risen above freezing since New Year's Day, and aren't expected to climb until the middle of next week.

Although many Pennsylvanians are enduring their first deep freeze of winter, it pales in comparison to Bismarck, N.D., where wind chills hit 52 below zero Thursday and the temperature reached 14 below. Wind chills were still near 50 below in the Dakotas on Friday.

Southerners also struggled with the latest storm. In Atlanta, more accustomed to winter temperatures in the low 50s, a glaze of ice coated roads Friday after light snow overnight melted and froze.

Nearly 30 cars piled up in a pre-dawn crash near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

In Alabama, packed shelters brought out extra cots and opened doors for people fearful of the deadly cold.

In Mobile, Ala., hit by a rare arctic chill on the coast, Salvation Army spokesman Stacey Killingsworth said shelters were "filled to the brim." One that normally holds up to 28 homeless men a night has been averaging 115 in recent days, she said.

"We don't turn anyone away, including women and children. We've used cots and mats. We've put people in the auditorium and hallways," she said.

In Florida's Panhandle, vapor was rising off the Gulf as warm water met the frigid air.

"It's so cold that sparrows that have crawled under the plastic on our heated deck don't want to leave," said Scooter Montgomery, manager of Peg Leg Pete's Oyster Bar on Pensacola Beach.

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