Huge swath of United States hit by winter storm bringing, snow, cold

Icy roads, cold conditions continue in South Carolina

A brutal winter storm smacked the coastal Southeast with a rare blast of snow and ice Wednesday, hitting parts of Florida, Georgia and SC with their heaviest snowfall in almost three decades.

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.

The National Weather Service extended a winter weather advisory for the central part of the state into Saturday, due to cold temperatures, wind chill and residual snow and ice.

On its Twitter account, the Tallahassee Police Department warned motorists that ice could form on bridges early Wednesday.

And at New Hampshire's Mount Washington Observatory, the temperature will drop to a unsafe -35 degrees Fahrenheit on Friday night into Saturday, weather observer Taylor Reagan said as CNN reported.

In northern Florida, at least five districts canceled school.

Snow started falling on Tallahassee Wednesday around 8 a.m. EST, according to the National Weather Service. Rob Carolan, a meteorologist for Hometown Forecast Services Inc., says winter storm warnings have been issued along the east coast up past MA.

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"It is certainly going to be a bomb", Carolan said.

Nevertheless, the cold is nothing to trifle with, forecasters warned.

Officials are urging residents to stay home so crews can clear streets and roads of what could be as much as foot or more of snow in some places.

Atlanta hospitals were seeing a surge in emergency room visits for hypothermia and other ailments as temperatures plunge well below freezing.

The blast of winter weather and accompanying plunging temperatures has been linked to at least 17 deaths as far south as Texas. However, Philadelphia should see 1-3 inches and 3-6 inches is possible in New York City. "The bad news is it will ruin tomorrow morning's commute". Just north, the city of Poughkeepsie saw a record-breaking low of minus 10 degrees on New Year's Day. Visitors took pictures of a frozen fountain in a park in the city's center.

"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. Park Ji-won, Arirang News.

In the Southeast, winter storm warnings were issued in such usually mild locations as Tallahassee, Savannah, Ga., Hilton Head and Charleston, S.C., North Carolina's Outer Banks and Wilmington, N.C. African elephants, lions and gorillas were sheltered out of public view.

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