Anyone stepping outside today in most of the East Coast, Midwest and Plains states was probably physically hurt. Not from a two-day New Year's Eve hangover, either — but because it's just So. Brutally. Cold.
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The National Weather Service has issued wind chill warnings from today through Thursday, and the Weather Channel is forecasting that the deep freeze will continue through the week as more cold air comes down from Canada to "reamplify" the chill. (To paraphrase Jimi Hendrix, "and the wind cries, 'Sorry!' ")
If you rely on your car to get you from place to place, it's important to realize that it is affected by the cold, too. Fortunately, it can't feel the wind chill, but there are still things to keep in mind to make sure it starts up properly in the cold, including making sure that your car's battery and charging system are all functioning properly.
The cold can be especially tough on batteries — if you do need to jump-start your car, make sure to do it properly. Be wary of poorly functioning batteries as temperatures dip lower and lower, as it is possible for your car's battery to freeze. And if your car is electric and runs entirely on batteries, know that the extreme cold can reduce driving range considerably and plan accordingly.
There's never a good time for a car to leave you stranded — but it's particularly dangerous in subzero weather like this.
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