A dangerous winter storm with high winds and snow lashed parts of the US Southeast on Sunday, causing power outages, cutting down trees and fences, and coating roads with a treacherous, cold glaze .
Thousands of customers were without power in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Highway patrols were reporting hundreds of vehicle crashes, and a tornado ripped through a trailer park in Florida. According to flight tracking service flightaware.com, more than 1,200 Sunday flights were canceled at Charlotte Douglas International – more than 90% of the airport’s Sunday schedule.
As of Sunday afternoon, 20 to 30 centimeters of snow had fallen in some counties of North Carolina, while significant snow was causing problems in the central part of the state.
Christopher Knox, spokesman for First Sergeant North Carolina Highway Patrol, said that by mid-afternoon, the agency had responded to 300 car accidents and nearly 800 calls for service. Transport secretary J. Eric Boate said that many roads in the central and western part of the state are covered with snow. He said that the eastern part of the state is witnessing strong winds and rain.
Kristen Baker Morrow’s 6-year-old son made snow angels after his home in Krause, North Carolina, got 10 centimeters of snow Sunday morning, but said he couldn’t stay outside for long because of the uncomfortable air chill.
“It took 30 to 45 minutes for everything to recover, to about 10 minutes in the snow, but it was definitely worth it for her, to take our pictures and make some memories,” said Morrow, 35, a registered nurse.
According to poweroutage.us, more than 260,000 customers were without power as of Sunday afternoon. Particularly hard hit was North Carolina, which had 90,000 outages. The remaining outages were in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado struck southwest Florida. Lee County officials say 27 mobile homes were destroyed and 24 suffered major damage. There were no reports of serious injuries.
Edward Murray, 81, told Naples Daily News He was inside his mobile home in southwest Florida on Sunday morning when a tornado picked him up and threw it over his neighbor’s house.
“That’s my house that’s turned upside down,” he told the newspaper. “The tornado kicked me off my feet, hurled me toward the east wall and buried me under the sink, refrigerator, kitchen chairs, and everything else.”
Murray and his daughter, Koki, narrowly escaped, crawling through the rubble.
“I was overjoyed when I saw the sky,” Murray told the newspaper. “I told Satan, ‘It won’t happen today.'”
Virginia State Police said traffic came to a standstill on Interstate 81 in Roanoke County on Sunday afternoon after a tractor-trailer cut off and the truck’s cab cut off from the trailer in the north side lanes. Two more accidents occurred in the traffic backup, of which one suffered minor injuries. The Virginia Department of Transportation said a detour was being conducted. A tweet from VDOT’s Salem office read, “Please stay off roads if possible. Begging again! Dangerous conditions.”
From midnight to 12:45, Virginia state troops responded to 142 traffic accidents and 162 disabled vehicles. No traffic fatalities were reported.
The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security tweeted pictures of snow-covered roads in the southern part of the state and advised residents to “remain calm and calm.” The agency says the storm is moving north and is likely to accumulate at least 10 centimeters across most areas of the state, with up to 30 centimeters possible in the mountains.
In Tennessee, there were several reports of abandoned and wrecked cars on snow-covered roads.
After cursing south, the storm was expected to bring cold and snowy conditions to the northeast. New York City was expected to be spared most, if not all, of the snowfall, but typhoon conditions were expected in the Long Island and Connecticut coastal areas. Upstate New York was estimated to have up to 30 centimeters of snow to go with the high winds.
Fifteen to 33 cm of snow is expected in parts of east-central Ohio and western Pennsylvania through Sunday afternoon.
On Sunday, the coldest temperature across New England was recorded at -33 Celsius, with wind gusts in northern Vermont. In Boston, where a cold emergency was declared on Saturday, wind gusts remained below zero (-17 C), even as the region began to melt.