Good morning, and happy Friday — and Valentine's Day. Here are six of the top stories we are following this morning at NBC News:
1. Winter storm packs a final punch across Northeast
The deadly winter storm that iced over roads and power lines in the South barreled up the East Coast on Thursday, dumping more than a foot of snow from Washington, D.C., up to Boston. It left one final gasp overnight, turning roads into rivers and sidewalks into slush — and ensuring a messy morning commute. Read more in NEWS.
The fast-moving storm damaged homes, including this historic one in the South:
2. American skiers fail to medal in Alpine event at Sochi
Big-name Americans Bode Miller and Ted Ligety were medal favorites in the men’s super combined Friday, which features a downhill event and a slalom event. But the pair faltered and failed to bring home any medals, coming in sixth and 12th respectively. Read more at NBC OLYMPICS.
3. Virginia latest state to strike down gay marriage ban
A federal judge declared Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional Thursday — becoming the first southern state where a voter-approved ban has been overturned in federal court. The state follows Kentucky, where a judge ruled Wednesday that the state must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Read more in NEWS.
4. Pistorius puts out statement on 1-year anniversary of girlfriend’s death
Oscar Pistorius, who stands trial in the fatal shooting of Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, put out a rare public statement expressing his “heartache.” The double-amputee Olympic sprinting star is accused of murdering Steenkamp at their home in South Africa, although he says he mistook her for an intruder. Read more in NEWS.
5. Jury deliberates in Florida loud-music trial
The jury will reconvene this morning over the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white man in November 2012 in Jacksonville. The defense for Michael Dunn, 47, has claimed that he was standing his ground, although the victim, Jordan Davis, was unarmed. Read more in NEWS.
6. Schools prepare with emergency drills in wake of shootings
Full-scale drills are becoming the norm at schools across the U.S. following the spate of gun violence. Some schools aren’t skimping on the simulations either, employing fake blood and bullet shells. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today: Olympics edition
A pair of Alpine skiing coaches are monkeying around at Sochi.
Scotty Veenis, an assistant speed coach with the U.S. Ski Team, and Rewk Patten, a speed coach with Team Canada, donned chimp masks and climbed into trees to get a view of skiers on the slopes.
Photographers were quick to catch their antics.