As the historic freeze grows, senators battle the cold to get to a key vote, and one of the only states feeling a little warmth wins a national championship.
Welcome to the Tuesday edition of “5 Things to Know for Your New Day."
1. HISTORIC FREEZE
Breaking records: How cold was it? It was so cold, even polar bears and penguins were being kept indoors yesterday. Zoos in Pittsburgh and Chicago said they were keeping those animals indoors to dodge the deep freeze. Humans were doing the same. Who could blame us? Yesterday brought a historic chill. It's part of an Arctic blast that plunged deep into the central United States on Monday, leaving Nashville 40 degrees colder than Albany, New York; Memphis 20 degrees colder than Anchorage, Alaska; and Atlanta colder than Moscow - Russia or Idaho, take your pick. And it’s not over. In fact, it's growing.
Forecasters say this cold snap could last until tomorrow or longer. Authorities have blamed 15 deaths on the cold so far, 11 of them from traffic accidents. The freeze is also causing major concerns for farmers.
Indra Petersons, George Howell and Tory Dunnan will report live on this story.
2. BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Late rally: Now Auburn may know how it feels. Auburn. Auburn spent this season rallying from behind and winning in the most exciting ways to somehow make it to the Bowl Championship Series title game. But last night, it was Florida State that played the role of heartbreaker. No. 1 Florida State re-emerged in the second half and rallied to defeat No. 2 Auburn 34-31 in the big game. The Seminoles (13-0) outscored the Tigers (12-2) 24-10 after halftime to win their third national title. It was FSU's second BCS crown and third national title.
Joe Carter will be live to give a recap and reactions to the game.
3. UNEMPLOYMENT VOTE
Delayed: This was not supposed to be another weather blog entry. But in some ways, it is. A key procedural vote on an extension of unemployment insurance benefits was delayed yesterday. Why? Because more than a dozen lawmakers could not make the vote because of travel delays caused by bad weather. The vote has been rescheduled for today, and about 1.3 million Americans are affected by the issue. This has been a contentious issue in the past.
Jim Acosta will be live on this story.
4. DENNIS RODMAN
Old-school basketball: This may have been a good NBA basketball game 20 years ago. But now, it’s a mystery what Dennis Rodman and his collection of old-timers are going to do in North Korea tomorrow. It’s been announced that Rodman will take part in a controversial basketball game on the birthday of Kim Jong Un, the country's young, unpredictable leader. The game tomorrow will feature Rodman’s crew of NBA old-timers against the North Korean Senior National Team. The names? Kenny Anderson, Cliff Robinson, Vin Baker, Craig Hodges, Doug Christie and Charles D. Smith. And while some of these guys were good, none of them have played on an NBA all-star team this century. This comes just weeks after North Korea shocked the world by announcing the purge and execution of Kim's once-powerful uncle.
5. MARY KAY LETOURNEAU
Arrested again: Mary Kay Letourneau. You probably remember that name. She’s the teacher who made headlines in the late '90s when she was arrested and served more than seven years in prison for raping one of her sixth-grade male students. (They later got married after she got out of prison and he grew to legal age). Letourneau got into trouble again recently, but this will not make major headlines. She was arrested and accused of driving with a suspended license and failure to appear, according to authorities in Washington state.
Pamela Brown reports on this story at 7.
Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a few others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing:
Quitting cat: There’s the saying that if first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Yeah, well, this cat has never heard that.
Poor Michael Bay: Ouch. There has been a lot of talk about this recent meltdown from famous director Michael Bay. As this video will show, not all of us are public speakers. But then again, not all of us are responsible for directing the "Transformer" series, "Armageddon" and "Pearl Harbor."
How cold is it? Cold enough for a guy in Canada to get more than 3 million clicks for showing what happens when you put boiling water in a water gun. …
Stadium zipline: This is what you do when you are one the worst football teams in the NFL. Staring at you, Jacksonville. Staring at you.
Race for his daughter: Tear-jerker alert. Chris McDonnell raced the 2013 Ironman championship to fulfill a promise he made to his daughter, Grace, a first-grader who died in the Sandy Hook school shooting.
There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning. Be sure to tune in to "New Day" from 6 to 9 a.m. ET, join us at CNN.com/NewDay, and go have a GREAT NEW DAY!