WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Weather Service (NWS) reports cold air, snow and rain will continue for much of the Midwest and South today. A low-pressure system over Illinois this morning will bring more snow to the Midwest and parts of Tennessee and Kentucky while sleet and freezing rain will fall in parts of northern Alabama and Georgia later today.
Record-setting low-temperatures were seen in many parts of the South yesterday. Tennessee had single-digit morning lows, which were blamed for exposure deaths in Nashville and Memphis. Mobile, Ala., had a low temperature of 18 degrees yesterday, breaking a 75-year-old record. Jacksonville, Fla., recorded 23 degrees late yesterday, breaking a record set in 1896. Area citrus growers are fearful the cold weather may damage crops.
Heavy snow continued to fall across Michigan early this morning where up to 26 inches has already fallen since last weekend. NWS winter storm warnings are in effect for Mackinac County in the Upper Peninsula through today. Michigan State Police report a 30-mile stretch of U.S. 2, also in the Upper Peninsula, has been closed. Detroit schools are closed again today.
Lake-effect snows that shut down Buffalo and the surrounding area on Monday returned yesterday, dropping even more snow on the 16 inches the area has already received. As much as two feet of snow has accumulated in western New York since Monday.
Governor Jim Edgar has declared the entire state a disaster area. Schools in Chicago remained closed yesterday and may remain closed today as very cold temperatures continue.
Forty-six counties remain under snow emergencies. The Governor lifted the statewide emergency declaration for all counties not under snow emergencies. Hundreds of travelers were able to leave emergency shelters Monday. The cold weather and strong winds are hampering the efforts of road crews to keep the roads open. The State Legislature has postponed the opening of its 1999 legislative session because members are having difficulty getting to Indianapolis.
A 60-car pile-up in Racine County yesterday resulted in one death. The State is focusing on snow removal.
NWS forecasters call for more cold air and lake-effect snow over the Great Lakes beginning on Thursday and into the weekend. The rest of the Midwest will see light snow while southern Illinois, Ohio and most of Kentucky and Tennessee will experience rain-snow mix and possibly freezing rain. The eastern seaboard will see rain on Saturday while the Northeast will see snow.