Winter storm claims 10 lives across the US South

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At least 10 people have died across the US South over the past couple of days as Winter Storm Inga brought snow, ice and some record-breaking cold to the region. Numerous runways and highways were closed, as well as schools and government offices. Highs across the Deep South will still be 5 – 11 °C (10 to 20 °F) below average today, but are expected to be near to above average on Saturday, January 20, 2018.

Temperatures dropped to record lows overnight Wednesday, January 17, 2018 in several places in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi. New Orleans, for example, recorded -6 °C ( 21 °F) before dawn Wednesday, breaking the city’s record low of -5 °C (23 °F) set on January 17, 1977.

As of Wednesday evening (local time), Teer, North Carolina received 30.5 cm (12 inches) of snow, Murray, Kentucky had 22.8 cm (9 inches), Omaha, Arkansas 21.6 cm (8.5 inches), Dover and Paris in Tennessee 17.8 cm (7 inches), Wellford, South Carolina 11.4 cm (4.5 inches), Waverly, Alabama received 10.1 cm (4 inches), Hughes Springs, Texas 8.6 cm (3.4 inches), Delhi, Louisiana 7.8 cm (3.1 inches), and Tylertown, Mississippi 7.6 cm (3 inches).

At least 4 people died in Louisiana, including a man knocked off an elevated portion of Interstate 10 in New Orleans when a pickup spun out on ice, the AP reports.

Two people died on along an icy stretch of I-75 southeast of Atlanta, Georgia when a driver lost control of his car and hit them.

At least one person was killed in a weather-related traffic accident in West Virginia, a homeless man and one elderly woman with dementia were found dead in freezing Houston. The tenth victim is a woman found dead in a park near City Hall in Memphis at a temperature of -12 °C (10 °F).

Very cold temperatures are likely to continue over the Deep South and Southeast US into Thursday, January 18, the National Weather Service said. 

“After a cold start across the Deep South, warmer weather will spread eastward from the Plains as the weekend approaches,” NWS forecaster Otto noted 07:37 UTC (02:37 EST) today.

After Thursday morning lows in the teens (°F / -7 to -10 °C) for many locations extending from eastern Texas to the central Gulf Coast, warmer weather is on the way. High pressure currently situated over the lower Mississippi River valley will slowly shift east over the next two days, allowing a southwesterly wind to bring in warmer air from the Plains and Gulf of Mexico.

Highs across the Deep South will still be 5 – 11 °C (10 to 20 °F) below average today, but are expected to be near to above average for Saturday.

For Saturday, high temperatures in Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana should warm up into the 60s and 70s (°F / 15 – 20 °C), a significant change from the snow and ice experienced earlier in the week.

After the departure of a winter storm from the Mid-Atlantic coast this morning, most locations east of the Rockies will be dry through Saturday morning, except for light snow in the vicinity of the Great Lakes and some showers over the eastern half of Texas into Louisiana on Friday and Saturday.

Featured image: I-10, Baton Rouge, LA closed due to ice on January 17, 2018. Credit: Live Storms Media

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