At least 18 now dead in the bitterly cold weather as officials confirm student likely froze to death

At least 18 deaths are now being blamed on the bitterly cold weather amid the deadly polar vortex wreaking havoc across the United States. 

Among those dead are a FedEx worker found between two tractor-trailers at a delivery facility in western Illinois and a man found frozen solid in his backyard in Milwaukee.  

Police say a colleague found the body of 69-year-old William L. Murphy between two semitrailers at the delivery company’s East Moline facility Thursday morning, when Moline hit a record low of minus 33F (-36 Celsius).

Rock Island County Coroner Brian Gustafson says Murphy’s death ‘appears to be medical or natural’ and that an autopsy scheduled for Monday will determine if the frigid temperature played a role.   

The company said: ‘We are saddened by the loss of our team member and our sympathies go out to his family and friends.’ 

The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to a home in Cudahy on Thursday after a man was found dead in his backyard. It was the same day temperatures plunged to record lows in several Midwestern cities.

No details about the man or what preceded his death were immediately released. An autopsy is scheduled.    

Officials have also confirmed the University of Iowa college student found dead just before 3am on Wednesday near his dorm likely froze to death. 

The deaths being blamed on the historic deep freeze have occurred in eight states, from Iowa to New York. 

A FedEx worker has been found dead outside in a western Illinois city that has been experiencing record low temperatures

A FedEx worker has been found dead outside in a western Illinois city that has been experiencing record low temperatures

A FedEx worker has been found dead outside in a western Illinois city that has been experiencing record low temperatures

Pedestrians walk as snow falls in Washington DC Friday after brutally cold temperatures gripped the US Midwest

Pedestrians walk as snow falls in Washington DC Friday after brutally cold temperatures gripped the US Midwest

Pedestrians walk as snow falls in Washington DC Friday after brutally cold temperatures gripped the US Midwest

A US Secret Service officer guards the White House as snow falls Friday 

A US Secret Service officer guards the White House as snow falls Friday 

A US Secret Service officer guards the White House as snow falls Friday 

At least 18 people have died during the freezing temperatures that have gripped the Midwest and Northeast

At least 18 people have died during the freezing temperatures that have gripped the Midwest and Northeast

At least 18 people have died during the freezing temperatures that have gripped the Midwest and Northeast

A woman is hit by a snow ball while posing for a picture in front of the White House as snow falls in Washington Friday 

A woman is hit by a snow ball while posing for a picture in front of the White House as snow falls in Washington Friday 

A woman is hit by a snow ball while posing for a picture in front of the White House as snow falls in Washington Friday 

An icebreaking tugboat of the U.S. Coast Guard cuts through ice as it makes its way north on the Hudson River between the cities of Kingston and Albany on Friday

An icebreaking tugboat of the U.S. Coast Guard cuts through ice as it makes its way north on the Hudson River between the cities of Kingston and Albany on Friday

An icebreaking tugboat of the U.S. Coast Guard cuts through ice as it makes its way north on the Hudson River between the cities of Kingston and Albany on Friday

Authorities in Minnesota’s Carver County say they received a report of a car accident on Monday evening. They arrived and found a vehicle off the roadway. Forty-six-year-old Amy Debower of Chaska was found dead outside the vehicle.

Carver County Sheriff Jason Kamerud says a preliminary investigation suggests the extreme weather may have been a factor in Debower’s death. The investigation is ongoing.  

A 90-year-old woman has died in the extreme cold after locking herself out of her home in southwestern Michigan.

WOOD-TV says Ada Salna was found covered with snow on the steps of her home Wednesday near Three Rivers in St. Joseph County. Pathologist Joyce deJong says Salna died of hypothermia. Blood loss from a cut also contributed to her death.

The TV station says Salna was feeding birds when she was locked out. 

Authorities said the body of student Gerald Belz was found behind an academic hall in the early hours of Wednesday by campus police.

The 18-year-old was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The university said in a statement to The Chicago Tribune that police think Belz’s death was linked to the weather and do not suspect foul play. 

The National Weather Service says the wind chill in Iowa around 3am was -51F. 

Belz’s family said their son was studying pre-med and that he had just graduated last May from Cedar Rapids Kennedy High School. His family told KCRG that doctors did not find alcohol in his system.  

The deadly polar vortex wreaking havoc across the US has left at least 18 people dead, including college student, Gerald Belz

The deadly polar vortex wreaking havoc across the US has left at least 18 people dead, including college student, Gerald Belz

The deadly polar vortex wreaking havoc across the US has left at least 18 people dead, including college student, Gerald Belz

Authorities in New York say the death of a homeless man whose frozen body was found in a suburban Buffalo bus shelter might be related to the arctic cold that has blanketed much of the northern U.S. this week. 

An autopsy was planned to determine whether the man found in the village of Williamsville froze to death or died of another cause. His name wasn’t immediately released.     

In Indiana one person died early Friday morning in a crash involving a salt truck on the Interstate 70. Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine told The Indianapolis Star that the crash happened about 6:15 a.m. Friday near Monrovia in Hendricks County. 

Perrine says the Indiana Department of Transportation salt truck pulled over due to a mechanical issue and its hazard lights were on. He says another vehicle struck the truck’s rear and the person in that vehicle died.

The crash happened as a storm moved across Indiana, bringing up to three inches of snow. It follows a deep freeze that saw temperatures as low as minus 25F (-31 C) in LaPorte on Thursday morning.  

The bitterly cold weather has held much of the region in a historic deep freeze

The bitterly cold weather has held much of the region in a historic deep freeze

The bitterly cold weather has held much of the region in a historic deep freeze

The frigid conditions are starting to ease with rapid thaw over the next few days

The frigid conditions are starting to ease with rapid thaw over the next few days

The frigid conditions are starting to ease with rapid thaw over the next few days

There could be a swing of as much as 80 degrees within days in parts of the region

There could be a swing of as much as 80 degrees within days in parts of the region

There could be a swing of as much as 80 degrees within days in parts of the region

Experts say the rapid thawing is unprecedented and could create problems of its own such as bursting pipes, flooding rivers and crumbling roads

Experts say the rapid thawing is unprecedented and could create problems of its own such as bursting pipes, flooding rivers and crumbling roads

Experts say the rapid thawing is unprecedented and could create problems of its own such as bursting pipes, flooding rivers and crumbling roads

Past cold waves have not dissipated this quickly according to forecasters 

Past cold waves have not dissipated this quickly according to forecasters 

Past cold waves have not dissipated this quickly according to forecasters 

The frigid conditions are starting to ease, and a dramatic swing of as much as 80 degrees was expected within days in parts of the region.

Water main breaks and burst pipes have disrupted operations at several facilities in Michigan amid bitterly cold weather, including a Detroit court and a university library. 

Similar problems are expected amid a rapid thaw. A flood warning remains in effect along the Muskegon River in western Michigan due to an ice jam.   

Forecasts say the region will see a rapid thaw over the next few days, with temperatures climbing. Experts say the swing is unprecedented, and it could create problems of its own such as bursting pipes, flooding rivers and crumbling roads.

Jeff Masters is meteorology director of the Weather Underground firm. He says past cold waves have not dissipated this quickly.

Rockford, Illinois, saw a record-breaking minus 31F (minus 35 Celsius) on Thursday but should be around 50F (10 Celsius) on Monday. Other previously frozen areas can expect temperatures of 55F (13 Celsius) or higher.  

People walk alongside frozen Lake Michigan in Chicago on Thursday as the Midwest was struck by the polar vortex and bitterly cold weather 

People walk alongside frozen Lake Michigan in Chicago on Thursday as the Midwest was struck by the polar vortex and bitterly cold weather 

People walk alongside frozen Lake Michigan in Chicago on Thursday as the Midwest was struck by the polar vortex and bitterly cold weather 

The polar vortex that brought many cities to a standstill was expected to come to a swift end

The polar vortex that brought many cities to a standstill was expected to come to a swift end

The polar vortex that brought many cities to a standstill was expected to come to a swift end

A woman walks on the North Avenue Beach as steam rises from the city buildings and Lake Michigan in Chicago on Thursday 

A woman walks on the North Avenue Beach as steam rises from the city buildings and Lake Michigan in Chicago on Thursday 

A woman walks on the North Avenue Beach as steam rises from the city buildings and Lake Michigan in Chicago on Thursday 

18 KILLED AS DEEP FREEZE WREAKS HAVOC ON MIDWEST

1. Gerald Belz, 18, was found dead on the University of Iowa campus at 3am on Wednesday. The wind chill in Iowa when the pre-med student was found was -51F degrees.

2. Police found a man’s body across the street from his home in the Detroit area on Tuesday. He was not wearing a hat or gloves and wasn’t dressed for below-zero temperatures.

3. Gary Sammons, a 70-year-old man, was found dead in Detroit in front of a neighbor’s home on Tuesday.

4. An 82-year-old central Illinois man died in the cold weather after authorities say he was found by a neighbor several hours after he fell trying to get into his home.

5. A Milwaukee woman, 38, was found frozen in her unheated apartment on Wednesday.

6. A 60-year-old woman was found in a house in Ohio.

7. The body of a Michigan man, 60, was found outdoors in freezing conditions.

8. A 55-year-old man also froze to death in his Milwaukee garage after he collapsed shoveling snow.

9. A nine-year-old died in an Iowa pile up.

10 & 11. A young couple were killed when their SUV struck another on a snowy road in northern Indiana.

12. A man was fatally struck by a snow plow in Chicago.

13. A homeless man known to locals as ‘Larry’ was found dead in a bus shelter in Buffalo, New York on Thursday.

14. A man found frozen in his backyard in a Milwaukee suburb on Friday. 

15. Driver died early Friday morning in a crash involving a salt truck on the Interstate 70 in Indiana 

16. FedEx worker, 69, found dead at a delivery facility in western Illinois. 

17. Amy Debower, 46, of Chaska was found dead outside her vehicle in Minnesota’s Carver County

18. Woman, 90, died in the extreme cold after locking herself out of her home in southwestern Michigan 

 

 

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