A major winter storm brought heavy snow and damaging ice to the southeastern US, knocking out power for thousands of homes and forcing cancellations of hundreds of flights on the Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend.
Freezing rain, flooding, downed trees, heavy snowfall and outages are expected to hit the northeast as the storm continues along a track that has impacted millions of Americans.
Winter storm Izzy is being driven by a powerful “Saskatchewan Screamer” weather system that brought record-breaking snowfall from Canada into the central US and Midwest as it made its way Southeast before turning north.
The storm also saw a large tornado near Naples, Florida, which overturned a semi-trailer truck on Interstate 75, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
Florida’s Lee County reported at least 27 buildings were destroyed in the storm, including 24 with major damage and 14 with minor damage.
Several governors declared states of emergency in anticipation of dangerous conditions over the weekend, including ice accumulating on roads and highways.
North Carolina Highway Patrol recorded 200 reports of crashes related to the storm as officials urged people to stay off roads.
“For today, the best way to avoid a car accident or getting stranded is to stay put,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said during a briefing on Sunday.
A high impact winter storm over land will bring hazardous marine weather over OPC's Atlantic offshore waters with winds nearing hurricane force to 60 kt. The animation below shows the OPC wind forecast from 15z 1/16 to 15z 1/18 #Marinewx pic.twitter.com/2SFuTO57P4
— NWS OPC (@NWSOPC) January 16, 2022
More than an inch of snow fell per hour in some southern states, according to the NWS Storm Prediction Center. Up to 12 inches of snow fell in parts of western North Carolina.
Nearly 110,000 power outages were reported in Georgia, and 90,000 outages were reported in South Carolina, according to PowerOutage.us. More than 40,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina lost power, according to Governor Cooper.
Hundreds of flights out of Charlotte, North Carolina were canceled on Sunday, and Delta Air Lines nixed 300 flights from its hub in Atlanta.
Forecasters anticipate the system bringing more than a foot of snow to some areas as it moves north, including parts of the Appalachians and upstate New York, while northwest Pennsylvania and parts of the Midwest could get up to two feet of snow.
— NWS State College (@NWSStateCollege) January 16, 2022
The National Weather Service also predicts up to 60 mph winds on Long Island with coastal flooding across New England into Monday morning.
More than half of all US states issued winter weather advisories over the last week and into Sunday.
Parts of northern North Dakota and western Minnesota saw up to a foot of snow last week. Snow fell at a rate of one inch per hour in Des Moines, Iowa, which accumulated 14 inches – the most the city has seen in more than 50 years, according to The Weather Channel.
The storm system – named after the Canadian province – is the same pattern as an Alberta Clipper, a rapid-fire storm system that generates smaller amounts of snow, generally 1 to 3 inches, according to Accuweather.