It is not just the Deep South that is being crippled; the brutal cold temperatures across the Midwest are so severe that the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor will be closed for the first time in 35 years. Over 80 million people are already in areas with wind chill advisories.
In the South, snow and ice are forcing school closures and road crews to handle the icy roads from New Orleans to as far north as Virginia. Traditionally sunny destinations such as Charleston, Savannah, and Pensacola in Florida expect to be hit by the snowstorm. The temperatures are spiraling downward; Atlanta and Charleston may plunge to 16F and Pensacola may bottom out at 24F.
The National Weather Service issued storm alerts covering the areas from central Texas east to Georgia, the Carolinas, and the southeast corner of Virginia. The Weather Channel said there could be upwards of six inches of snow in east North Carolina, and southeast Virginia could get more than six inches of snow. Many schools from Texas to Florida will be closed on Tuesday. Tulane University in New Orleans has cancelled classes.
As reported by NBC, Weather Channel meteorologist Nick Wiltgen said the storm was “potentially paralyzing,” while winter weather expert Tom Niziol echoed that the South could see weather “many parts have not seen in years.”
In the Midwest, from Chicago north to the Twin Cities, there will be a second straight day of subzero temperatures, and in the Northeast, temperatures will remain in the as low as single digits. In some areas in the upper Midwest, wind chills will reach 50 degrees below zero. Ohio State University has cancelled its classes.
One more severe problem with the nation’s bitter cold is the shortage of propane across the country; 14 million Americans use propane to heat their homes. The price is going up. Last Friday, propane intended for the Midwest was selling for $4.30 a gallon, twice as much as a week earlier. More than 20 states have already declared energy emergencies.