Large parts of the country endured record-breaking low temperatures Tuesday as the winter weather continued to inflict misery on the East and Midwest, while part of the South saw unusual levels of snow and ice and the West saw huge snowfalls that trapped a group of college students near the Grand Canyon, authorities said.
Two people were killed in accidents on snow and ice and snow covered roads in North Carolina, the Highway Patrol said, while the number of deaths linked to recent winter weather in Tennessee rose to 30.
In Arizona near the Grand Canyon, rescuers were using a helicopter to hoist 20 Northern Arizona University students and staff to safety after they became trapped by snow around 2 feet thick near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said the group had been camping for several days, and when they tried to drive out Sunday they found the roads impassable.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency increased its number of deaths related to the recent winter weather in that state to 30 on Tuesday. Of those, 10 were caused by hypothermia, the agency said.
Daily low temperature records were broken from Ohio to Vermont, with lows of minus-26 in Glen Falls, New York, and minus-23 in Montpelier, Vermont, the National Weather Service said. It was just 6 degrees at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, breaking a daily record for that date set in 1968, and it was minus-4 degrees at Dulles International Airport near Washington, D.C., the coldest air observed since 1996.
Parts of Texas were bracing for more winter weather Wednesday, with winter storm advisories starting at midnight in the Fort Worth area and another 2 to 4 inches of snow possible. This after freezing rain coated area roads Sunday and into Monday morning, causing dozens of crashes.
More than 1,100 flights at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport were cancelled Monday, NBC Dallas-Fort Worth reported. An American Airlines flight skidded on landing at the airport Monday and slid off the runway into the grass. "As soon as we hit the ground, we slid to the left," passenger Danelle Canales, of Dallas told the station.
A winter storm warning was put in place in Georgia, snow was forecast for northern Mississippi, and Alabama's governor ordered a state of emergency ahead of the new winter weather.
In North Carolina, two drivers were killed in separate car crashes Tuesday after they drove too fast on slick roads and slammed into trees, the state Highway Patrol said.
More than an inch of snow fell in the Raleigh area by Tuesday afternoon, and forecasters were confident a large swath of the central part of the state would get at least 2 to 4 inches of snow, and possibly as much as 6 inches, Wednesday night into Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said.
In Wilmington, N.C., located on the coast in the southeastern part of the state, two-tenths of an inch of ice coated tress and roads, and more freezing rain was expected Tuesday.
— Phil Helsel