Arctic air eases its grip on much of the US

      ATLANTA (AP) - An arctic blast is slowly easing its grip on much of the U.S.

      Winds are calming and the weather is warming slightly a day after temperature records - some more than a century old - were shattered up and down the Eastern Seaboard.

      In Atlanta, where a record low of 6 degrees hit early Tuesday, fountains froze over, a 200-foot Ferris wheel shut down and Southerners had to dig out winter coats, hats and gloves. The forecast Wednesday is sunny and 42 degrees.

      In the Midwest and East, where brutal polar air has lingered over the past few days, temperatures climbed but are still expected to be below freezing.

      Authorities report at least 21 cold-related deaths across the country since Sunday, including seven in Illinois and six in Indiana.

      Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.