Residents across a huge swath of the US were hunkered down as a massive winter storm packing snow, ice and high winds, followed by possible record-breaking cold, moved up the Eastern Seaboard, with the worst conditions expected from the Carolinas to Maine.
The icy conditions also were hampering early morning travel in Florida, as authorities were forced to shut a stretch of Interstate 10 east of Tallahassee. This particular storm looks as if it will intensify at twice that rate as it moves up the to the Northeast region of the U.S., according to Bob Oravec, the lead forecaster at the National Weather Service's Weather Prediction Center, the AP reported.
On its Twitter account, the Tallahassee Police Department warned motorists that ice could form on bridges early Wednesday. They include the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Virginia and Maryland; coastal New Jersey; eastern Long Island, New York; and coastal eastern New England. The storm could also produce damaging winds and coastal flooding, the weather service said.
Snow was reported in Tallahassee on Wednesday for the first time in 28 years, according to Weather Channel meteorologist Mike Seidel.
"It is certainly going to be a bomb", Carolan said.
Florida's largest theme parks announced that water attractions such as Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, Universal Orlando's Volcano Bay and SeaWorld's Aquatica were closed.
Nevertheless, the cold is nothing to trifle with, forecasters warned.
Weather officials are urging caution as blizzards and heavy snow are expected along the East Coast until Friday.
Atlanta hospitals were seeing a surge in emergency room visits for hypothermia and other ailments as temperatures plunge well below freezing.
Meanwhile, in Valdosta, Georgia, the snow was coming down even harder and it was actually accumulating on the lawns and streets.
The blast of winter weather and plunging temperatures that has gripped much of the U.S.in recent days already has taken a human toll. However, this is the most snowfall the city has seen in 28 years.
"I've never seen icicles in Savannah, period", said Sean Dempsey, a local restaurant manager who wore a hat, gloves and a thick coat to walk his dogs Tuesday. Along the I-95 corridor, we will see snow developing from south to north over the course of the afternoon. Nonetheless, African elephants, lions and gorillas were being sheltered out of public view because of the dangerously low temperatures.