An unseasonable, record-setting cold knifed through the South early Friday, while a freak wintry storm dumped snow over much of the Midwest for a second day and rain drenched the already saturated East.
The National Weather Service said snow kept falling in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin in the early morning but was starting to taper off in places as the storm moved from the Ohio Valley into the Great Lakes.Temperatures were in the 30s and 40s in the Midwest, which was socked Thursday by what was generally the region's earliest autumn snowfall in up to a century.
As much as 9 inches of snow fell Thursday in Indiana, 6 inches in southwestern Ohio, 6 in Wisconsin, 4 in Kentucky, nearly 4 in Illinois and nearly 3 in Michigan. Much of the snow melted as it hit the ground.
Police blamed slushy road conditions for two fatal accidents the same day. A 3-year-old girl, Amar Saxena of East Lansing, Mich., was killed in an accident on Indiana's Interstate 94 and in Michigan, Daniel Ravish, 16, of Buchanan was killed when he lost control of his car, state police said.
Police in Milwaukee reported dozens of fender-benders Thursday night. In Chicago, 16 trucks were dispatched Friday morning to spread salt over the city's main streets.
Thousands of people lost power across the Midwest because snow-laden tree limbs cracked off onto icy utility lines, and some customers remained without electricity early Friday.
But Toledo Edison Co. spokesman Jim Proctor said all of its available repair crews were used around the clock and most of the power in the northern Ohio city had been restored as of Friday morning.
"Some of our veterans who'd been here for 20 years said they couldn't remember a storm like this," Proctor said.
Flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, the nation's busiest, were delayed as long as two hours Thursday by snow-slick runways, but had returned to normal by Friday.
Light snow fell over northern and central Illinois Friday morning but was expected to diminish as the storm shifted into the upper Great Lakes.
In the South residents broke out their topcoats as cold air sent temperatures into as low as the 20s Friday morning. In Jacksonville, Fla., it was record 40 degrees at 7 a.m.
Temperature records fell all over Florida as the cold front moved over the state Thursday night. Miami, 92 degrees Thursday afternoon, dropped to 60 Friday morning, tying the 1955 record. Miami Beach set a record 61.
Palm Beach had 56 degrees; Daytona Beach, 44; Tallahassee, 34; and Orlando, 46.
Early morning freeze warnings were posted by the NWS for Georgia, Alabama, parts of the Florida Panhandle, Mississippi, Tennessee, the northern half of Louisiana, Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma and the northeast half of Texas.
In Mississippi, temperatures dipped to the low 30s and were near 40 along the coast. The temperature in the state capital, Jackson, hit 30, tying a record for the date set in 1919.