Thaw on the way in southern United States

National Weather Service High and Low Temperature Map 1-19-18

By Rich McKay

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Commuters in the southern United States will wake up to more frigid temperatures and slick roads Friday, but a thaw is expected by the weekend, forecasters say.

Many schools in Atlanta, northeastern Georgia and western North Carolina remained closed Friday after a mid-week storm dumped snow across the region, whipped up winds that snapped power lines and led to at least a dozen deaths.

Sub-freezing temperatures overnight left many roads with ice that is difficult for drivers to detect, but that’s expected to melt soon, said Laura Belanger, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Atlanta.

“We’re looking at a warm-up for the southeast and mid-Atlantic with daytime temperatures up in the 40s and 50s (Fahrenheit) and hitting the low 60s in some areas by Saturday,” Belanger said.

Areas as far north as Boston will inch up to the low 40s (Fahrenheit) but dip below freezing at night, she said adding, “This is still winter.”

Through the early morning hours, NWS freeze warnings remained in effect over much of the Deep South as far as Tampa, Florida.

The winter storm sent blasts of cold air as far south as Mississippi, Lousiana, Texas and Oklahoma.

In Houston, 22-year-old Cynthia Chavez said she walked on ice for the first time in her life on Wednesday, and fell on her second step.

“I was, like, coming out of our house and there was a little step and what I thought was water,” Chavez said by phone from Olde Towne Kolaches in Houston where she is a cashier. “Two steps and I was on my butt. At first, I was nervous but then I was like, ah, THIS is ice.”

More than 9 inches (23 cm) of snow have fallen this week in Durham, North Carolina, since Monday, with 7 inches (18 cm) or more in various places across southern Virginia, the NWS said.

In Virginia on Thursday, a six-year-old boy on a sled slid onto a road and was struck and killed by a car, CBS affiliate WDBJ-TV in Roanoke, Virginia, reported.

On Thursday in North Carolina’s Washington County, a 26-year-old man was killed when his vehicle went off a snowy road and overturned in a canal, officials said.

In Oklahoma, two people died on Wednesday in a fire apparently caused by the use of electrical space heaters, media reported.

(Reporting by Rich McKay; additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Editing by Larry King)

Weekend weather, freezing, dangerous Conditions in Ohio cause deadly pileups

weather map from Noaa weather service 12-9-16

By Kami K

Cold weather is in store for almost the entire nation this weekend as frigid temperatures dive in from Canada. Highs will be reaching in the low 40’s for Texas and frigid low temps of -22 degrees in the Dakotas.  According to the National Weather Service, a system moving into the Pacific Northwest will spread heavy rain and snow over the region today.  Snow levels will start off very low with snow accumulations likely even in Portland and Seattle with the probability of at least 4” of snow through Saturday evening.   

Twelve to fourteen inches of accumulation will be seen in some areas in the north from lake effect snowfall along areas close to the Great Lakes. These lake effect snows have caused dangerous conditions on roads and highways. In a report from The Weather Channel, heavy lake-effect snowfall made travel dangerous along Interstate 90 near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border Thursday, causing a pair of pileups 50 miles apart that left more than a dozen injured.

Shortly before 3 p.m. EST, the Lake County, Ohio Sheriff’s Office said that a pileup involving more than 50 vehicles occurred along I-90 southeast of Painesville. As a result, authorities closed both directions of the interstate. The road was closed for more than 14 hours and about 20 people were injured, according to the Associated Press.

Another pile-up occurred earlier Thursday along the same interstate, but this one was on the other side of the Ohio-Pennsylvania border. The Weather Channel reported that at least 15 people were injured in a pileup that involved at least a dozen vehicles between Exits 9 and 16 near Girard Township, Pennsylvania.

A more deadly chain reaction crash in Michigan resulted in the deaths of 3 people when slick road conditions caused a 30 to 40 car pileup on Interstate 96 Thursday morning.

“Bands of lake-effect snow are streaming through the Great Lakes region as arctic air flows over the relatively warmer lake waters,” said meteorologist Chris Dolce. “Those snow squalls can lead to visibility that deteriorates quickly, along with slick roads.”

Police and weather specialists are cautioning all drivers about respecting the weather conditions and being cautious.  

Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw told CBS Detroit, “We’re just trying to tell people I know it’s the first snowstorm, I know it’s the first time we’ve seen snow in a long time, but you gotta slow down and you gotta take a look at those closing distances between the cars in front of you.”