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The Latest: North Carolina eases heating fuel delivery rules

By: Associated Press
December 28, 2017 Updated: December 28, 2017 at 11:20 pm
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photo - In this Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017 photo, a truck stopped at the top of a hill after heavy snow fell in Cassadaga, N.Y. The National Weather Service said that strong westerly winds over Lake Erie picked up moisture, developed into snow and converged with opposing winds, dumping snow in a band along the shore from Ohio to New York. (Greg Bacon/The Observer via AP)
In this Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2017 photo, a truck stopped at the top of a hill after heavy snow fell in Cassadaga, N.Y. The National Weather Service said that strong westerly winds over Lake Erie picked up moisture, developed into snow and converged with opposing winds, dumping snow in a band along the shore from Ohio to New York. (Greg Bacon/The Observer via AP) 

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The Latest on the bitter cold sweeping much of the country (all times local):

8:10 p.m.

North Carolina's governor has signed an emergency declaration to allow heating fuel to be more easily distributed during a bitter cold snap gripping the U.S.

Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order loosens restrictions on drivers transporting heating fuels such as propane. It puts in extra measures to prevent price gouging.

Roads are being treated in South Carolina's coastal counties because of a forecast of light freezing rain.

A winter weather advisory is in effect for counties along the North and South Carolina coasts with some freezing rain possible through Friday morning.

A dog has been found frozen solid on an Ohio home's porch.

President Donald Trump says the East Coast could be facing "the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record" and could use some "good old Global Warming," an apparent jab at scientists who say the earth's climate has been getting warmer.

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7:40 p.m.

President Donald Trump says the East Coast could use some "good old Global Warming" as bitter-cold temperatures freeze large swaths of the county and are expected to continue this holiday weekend.

Trump tweets, "In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year's Eve on record."

He adds, "Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against."

Trump has repeatedly expressed skepticism about climate change science, calling global warming a "hoax" created by the Chinese. This year he announced his intention to pull out of the Paris climate agreement aimed at curbing greenhouse gases.

The U.N.'s climate agency says 2017 is on track to be the hottest year on record aside from those impacted by the El Nino phenomenon.

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4:10 p.m.

A dog has been found frozen solid on an Ohio home's porch as a bitter cold snap grips much of the United States.

Toledo humane society cruelty investigator Megan Brown tells The Blade newspaper she doesn't know how long the dog was outside Thursday, when Toledo's high temperature was expected to be in the teens (minus 11 to minus 7 degrees Celsius). A second dog was recovered shivering inside the home.

The dogs' owner says utilities had been shut off but he had been providing for the dogs while living elsewhere. He says he doesn't know how one dog got outside.

Forecasters warn of hypothermia and frostbite from arctic air settling in over the central U.S. and spreading east.

The temperature at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire on Thursday was minus 34 degrees (minus 37 Celsius), breaking a 1933 record of minus 31 degrees (minus 35 Celsius) atop the Northeast's highest peak.

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1:45 p.m.

Weather observers atop the Northeast's highest peak say the temperature has hit minus 34 degrees (minus 37 Celsius), a record for the day.

The previous record at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire was minus 31 degrees (minus 35 Celsius) and was set in 1933.

The observatory has posted a Facebook video showing weather observer Adam Gill emptying a pitcher of boiling water into the air, where it immediately turns to snow in the cold and hurricane-force winds.

Bitter cold weather has taken hold of much of the northern United States. Wind chill advisories or warnings were in effect for much of New England, northern Pennsylvania and New York on Thursday.

Forecasters warn of hypothermia and frostbite from arctic air settling in over the central U.S. and spreading east.

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12:15 p.m.

Firefighters have had to use a payloader to rescue someone in upstate New York who got trapped in her home by a storm that dropped a huge amount of snow.

The female resident of the town of Lorraine lived in an area at the eastern end of Lake Ontario that got about 6 feet of snow. The temperature in nearby Watertown plunged to minus 32 (minus 35 Celsius) on Thursday morning.

The snow was followed by a cold snap that is canceling events and leading officials to scramble across the northern tier of the U.S. to find help for the homeless.

Cleveland officials say four recreation centers will remain open as warming centers at least until Saturday.

A "polar bear plunge" in New Jersey in which hardy swimmers planned to jump into the Atlantic Ocean on Monday was canceled because of the cold. But similar events in other nearby towns stayed on the books.

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10 a.m.

The bitter cold sweeping much of the country this week underscores a stark reality for low-income Americans who rely on heating aid: Their dollars aren't going to go as far this winter.

The Department of Energy has projected energy fuel costs are going to track upward. That falls on the heels of two winters when costs were relatively low.

Mark Wolfe is an official with the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association. He says the good news is that President Donald Trump has released 90 percent of the energy assistance funding. Trump previously tried to eliminate the program altogether.

Wolfe says he is urging lawmakers to press to release the rest of the money.

The temperature without the wind chill factored in hit minus 32 on Thursday morning in Watertown, New York. Across the Northeast, homeless shelters are bringing in extra beds and staff members.

International Falls and Hibbing, Minnesota, set record lows Wednesday at minus 37 and minus 28, respectively.

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12:20 a.m.

Bitter cold weather has taken hold of much of the northern United States and is expected to stay put for days to come.

Forecasters are warning of hypothermia and frostbite from arctic air settling in over the central U.S. and spreading east.

The National Weather Service reports International Falls and Hibbing, Minnesota, set record low temperatures Wednesday. International Falls, the self-proclaimed Icebox of the Nation, plunged to 37 degrees below zero, while Hibbing bottomed out at 28 below.

The freezing temperatures and below-zero wind chills come as people in Erie, Pennsylvania, continue to dig out from a storm that has dumped more than 65 inches on the city.

Meanwhile, wind chill advisories or warnings are in effect for much of New England, northern Pennsylvania and New York.

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