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Thank the Cascades, Olympics for not being in a deep freeze

While a large swath of the U.S. is dealing with record-breaking cold, Western Washington is enjoying fairly mild temperatures.

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On Tuesday, the National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories and freeze warnings from South Texas to Canada. But over in the Puget Sound region, all was quiet.

The reason for that, according to Cliff Mass, is because of the mountain ranges, which “provide multiple lines of defense that our beloved Seahawks would be jealous of,” the University of Washington professor of atmospheric sciences wrote.

According to Mass, there was an approximate 80-degree difference in low temperatures between the Washington coast and Central Montana on Monday. The Associated Press reports that temperatures dropped below zero in the Midwest. In Aberdeen, South Dakota, it was minus 32 degrees on Monday. In Northeastern Montana, it was minus 58 with the wind chill.

It’s cold in the South, too, where temperatures in Atlanta early Tuesday morning dipped down to 14 degrees.

At least nine people have died in the past week due to the cold. The Associated Press reports the most recent reported death was Monday when a homeless man froze to death inside a trash bin.

Meanwhile, Seattle will enjoy highs in the mid-40s and lows in the mid-to-upper 30s through the week.

Essentially, the Rocky Mountains and the Cascades act as a barrier between the frigid cold of the continental interior and the Puget Sound region. The coast gets even more of a barrier thanks to the Olympics.

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