DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The first big snowstorm of the year in the Northeast dumped more than a foot of snow in areas of southern New England after leaving a glaze of ice and snow and bitterly cold temperatures across the South. Below freezing temperatures persisted throughout much of the eastern U.S. on Sunday.
Three deaths have been blamed on the storm in Virginia, Georgia and Kentucky with officials saying they were caused by roads made slick by ice. Other traffic deaths are being investigated to determine if weather played a factor.
The National Weather Service said 19.5 inches of snow fell on East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, about 30 miles south of Boston, with areas of Rhode Island reporting a foot of snow, and up to 10 inches of snow falling in parts of Connecticut.
The storm was pulling out into the Atlantic Ocean and forecasters said Sunday morning the snow should be winding down.
The ice and snow caused thousands of wrecks and other problems. In Mississippi, a former governor was hospitalized after he slipped and fell on his icy driveway. At least seven locations in North Carolina reported 10 inches of snow as the storm entered the state on Saturday, and blizzard conditions occurred in southeast Virginia.
Flights were cancelled at several airports and long lines were reported at many supermarkets and hardware stores where residents were scooping up snow blowers and supplies such as ice melt and windshield wiper fluid.
Bitter cold was expected in the wake of the storm. The Weather Service said the low in Greensboro, North Carolina, could dip to zero or below on Monday morning — marking only the 15th time in 113 years of records it has gotten that cold.
Schools in the South were already cancelling classes Monday because of lingering ice on roads or the unusual cold. Many places in North Carolina aren’t forecast to get above freezing until Tuesday afternoon.
In Portland, Oregon, two basketball games fell victim to approaching severe winter weather. The NBA game between the Trail Blazers and the Detroit Pistons, scheduled for Saturday night, was postponed and moved to Sunday. No. 5 Gonzaga’s scheduled men’s basketball game at Portland also was postponed, although no makeup date was announced.
On the West Coast, temperatures were unusually warm, with forecasters warning about mudslides as heavy rain falls on mountainsides full of snow.
In Mississippi, a family spokesman said 93-year-old former Gov. William Winter was expected to recover, but remained in serious condition after suffering a concussion when he fell on the steep, icy driveway of his Jackson home.
Finley reported from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Tom Foreman Jr. reported from Winston-Salem. Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi, Bob Salsberg in Boston and John Nicholson in New York contributed to this report.