Can't we wish this winter weather away?

Story highlights

  • Extreme weather has claimed at least six lives
  • More winter storms are possible

(CNN)Just how far is the winter weather seeping into areas of life traditionally unrelated to atmospheric goings-on?

Consider the Christian tradition of Lent, which starts Wednesday and is known as a period of self-denial for believers. With record snowfall in the Northeast and snow and ice disrupting a large swath of the country, some quipped about what they really want to give up this year: the winter.
There are, however, serious reasons to wish the cold and snow away.
    Less than two months into the year, the winter storms could cost the nation $1 billion to $2 billion, according to Planalytics, a weather research firm for businesses.
    The city of Boston reports that it has spent more than $30 million on snow removal alone.
    At least six deaths have been blamed on the latest winter storms.
    A New York City woman was found dead in a New Hampshire hiking area on Monday, according to the state's fish and game department.
    The woman, 32-year-old Kate Matrosova, appeared to have died of exposure to the extreme cold, the agency said.
    Over the weekend, a man in Boston died after suffering a heart attack while shoveling snow, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said.
    Authorities in the Northeast are looking at two additional deaths as possible weather-related cases.
    In North Carolina, where 100 out of 115 school districts were closed Tuesday, there was one weather-related death, Gov. Pat McCrory said.
    A 19-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle and crashed in the northeastern part of the state, the governor said.
    "Do not go out on the roads if you don't need to go out on the roads, because it's still very dangerous," McCrory said.
    Three others lost their lives in weather-related incidents in Tennessee, the state's emergency management agency said.
    In New Jersey, emergency responders rescued a 14-year-old girl who fell into icy water after apparently walking out on a pipe extending from the shore, CNN affiliate WCBS reported. The girl was taken to the hospital with signs of hypothermia, it said.

    Brutal cold continues

    Temperatures across the eastern half of the United States will be below average for the entire week.
    Not just cold, but bitter cold was the rule in New England, where overnight lows plunged into single digits and below zero.
    In New York City, lows were in the teens.
    High temperatures on Tuesday were 10 to 25 degrees below average. An even colder blast of Arctic air is forecast to roll into the Midwest, Southwest, Atlantic states and Northeast on Wednesday, plunging temperatures even lower.
    Snow was falling everywhere from Oklahoma to Kentucky, West Virginia and southern Illinois, and ice caused power outages for hundreds of thousands in the affected areas.
    Eric Horst, director of the Weather Information Center at Millersville University in central Pennsylvania, reported that his community set three records for low temperatures on Monday.

    Winter scenes

    The warnings to avoid the roads, the school closures, and the recommendations to stay indoors have not deterred those who are out and about from chronicling the wintry weather. Some call it #Snowmageddon2015, others say they are "SnOverIt."
    Philadelphia resident Christopher Benson shared with CNN's iReport the scene of a fire that broke out in the midst of the freezing temperatures. He was in awe at what he saw: As firefighters battled a fire at a medical building, the water froze, turning the structure into something that Queen Elsa might have conjured. (No one was injured in the fire, according to local reports).
    Twitter user Paul Hewitt caught a bird's-eye view of the frozen Hudson River after taking off on a flight from LaGuardia Airport.

    ANOTHER storm coming?

    There is a new potential winter storm that might develop late this week and into the weekend, though forecasting models are not in agreement.
    The possible storm could take shape in the middle Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys. And it could extend farther.
    Wishing the winter storms away might be our only hope.