Here are the things you need to  know today......

~Zone forecast from

It is unlikely this extended cold weather will lead to a drop in Maine's tick population.  The Bangor Daily News reports cold does kill them but  snow and ground debris creates protected places for the ticks.  Researchers in southern Maine have been studying this issue.

The demand for heating oil up because of use cold temperatures. According to WCSH that’s leaving oil dealers overwhelmed and customers frustrated. Companies that typically get a few hundred calls a day are now getting thousands.

Pres. Trump did declare Maine a major disaster following the wind storm in late October. WMTW reports an amount was not released, but will go to cover the cost of clean up.

A dog woke up its owners early Wednesday morning when there was a house fire early on the Trafton Road in Waterville. WABI reports the cause is still under investigation.

From the Associated Press:

Residents across a huge swath of the U.S. are hunkering down, waiting out a massive winter storm packing snow, ice, high winds and brutal cold. The storm was moving up the east coast, leaving thousands of canceled flights, closed schools and fear of power outages and flooding. The blast of winter weather and accompanying cold temperatures has been linked to at least 17 deaths.

Maine lawmakers are postponing hearings due to forecasts of snowy, blustery conditions. The Maine Legislature postponed Thursday hearings and work sessions and will reschedule them later. Democrats say they are focused on implementing Medicaid expansion but have no plans to fund it. Republican Senate Leader and gubernatorial candidate Garrett Mason told WGAN-AM on Tuesday he'd love to see expansion repealed.

The leader of the Maine National Guard has been promoted. Republican Gov. Paul LePage says Maine Adjutant General Douglas Farnham has been promoted from the rank of brigadier general to major general. LePage presided over Farnham's promotion ceremony on Wednesday.

Acadia National Park is among 118 national parks nationwide that will offer fewer free entrance days amid budget challenges. After waiving entrance fees for 16 days in 2016 and 10 days in 2017, the National Park Service announced last month that it will have four no-cost days this year. The move comes after the Park Service says it is considering raising vehicle entry fees at 17 busy parks including Acadia.

A lawyer for President Donald Trump is threatening legal action against former White House strategist Steve Bannon over what he calls "disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements." Trump lawyer Charles Harder has sent a letter to Bannon, saying he violated confidentiality agreements by speaking with reporter Michael Wolff for a book. The letter demands Bannon "cease and desist" any further disclosure of confidential information. Bannon didn't immediately comment.

Paul Manafort has filed a lawsuit challenging the legal authority of special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia probe. Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, was indicted on charges related to his lobbying work on behalf of a Russia-friendly Ukrainian party. He says prosecutors overstepped their bounds by charging him for conduct he says is unrelated to Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Iran's top regional foes, Israel and Saudi Arabia, are both watching that country's protests for signs they could lead to change. Iran's supreme leader has accused enemies of stoking the unrest. Iran's rivals are eager to see change but have taken different approaches in public toward the protests. Saudi Arabia has largely remained quiet, while Israel has wholeheartedly and openly tried to woo Iranians.

The strength of the protests in Iran is uncertain after a week of unrest that killed at least 21 people. It wasn't immediately clear if the drop in reports of new demonstrations on Thursday meant that the protests are subsiding or that the Iranian government's blocking of social media apps has stopped the protesters from offering new images of rallies. In Tehran, streets were calm and clear at the start of the Iranian weekend.