Deep freeze stretches all the way to Gulf Coast
(CNN) — The Deep South will plunge into a deep freeze again this week, this time with ice and snow expected to fall all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.
Of course, it’s not just the South that will be shuddering. Midwesterners and others more accustomed to bitter weather will also be freezing. Here’s what to expect around the country:
New Orleans and its suburbs could get half an inch of snow and ice by Tuesday evening, forecasters said. Parishes farther north could see 3 inches, with temperatures plunging into the single digits on Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
“This town is shutting down” on Tuesday, New Orleans cab driver August Delaney said Monday. “Some bridges are going to shut down. Schools are closed. We are not going to put our kids on school buses.”
Mayor Mitch Landrieu declared a state of emergency and warned residents to remember what happened when temperatures dipped toward the freezing mark less than a week ago.
“We had bridges that were frozen over, as you might remember,” Landrieu said. “We had accidents on those bridges, a fairly large pile-up on the Green Bridge. Sometime not long ago, when they had a similar event, there were a thousand crashes, and there were fatalities — and we want to make sure that we avoid all of that.”
State officials say up to 4 inches of snow could fall in the south-central part of Mississippi, and the Gulf Coast could see three-quarters of an inch.
Robert Latham, the state’s emergency management director, warned residents to expect power outages as well.
“We’re looking at a part of the state that has a large number of pine trees,” Latham said. “I can tell you that as ice accumulates on pine trees, limbs will break. Trees will fall. Power will be out.”
Houston is closing all public services not related to public safety as the city braces for freezing rain and sleet on Tuesday.
The Houston Independent School District, the largest in the state, will also be closed.
For a city not accustomed to flurries, Atlanta will have a 30 to 40% chance of snow Tuesday.
Farther south in Macon, where about 3 inches of snow could fall, students will get both Tuesday and Wednesday off from school.
Montgomery, the state capital, also has a 40% chance of snow for Tuesday.
Schools in both Montgomery and Birmingham will be closed Tuesday. Up to 3 inches of snow are forecast for Montgomery.
Much of the northern Plains, Midwest and Northeast will likely shiver through daytime high temperatures 10 to 30 degrees below normal through Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.
Chicago’s temperature Tuesday could reach a whopping 3 degrees — but the wind chill in the Windy City will likely make it feel like minus-30 degrees.
In Wisconsin, the state department of transportation urged people to avoid driving if possible. If they must drive, they should carry a fully charged cell phone, have at least half a tank of gasoline and tell somebody where they’re going.
In Milwaukee, two motorists seconded that advice.
“It’s going to be pure ice. It’s all fluffy and light snow like this and it’s going to melt down — going to be a mess,” Gary Lukowitz told CNN affiliate WITI.
“Even though you see the streets are plowed and it’s still slippery out there — still a lot of wet snow on the ground, still freezing and cars are still slipping around,” Adam Bernstein said.
And Minnesota authorities advised everyone to stay off the roads in the southern and western parts of the state.
Trouble in the sky, too
Air travelers won’t have much better luck.
More than 2,500 flights have been canceled within, into or out of the United States for Tuesday, according to FlightAware.com, which tracks cancellations due to both weather and mechanical problems.
All this with 51 days of winter still left to go.
CNN’s Chad Myers, Sean Morris, Dave Hennen, Joe Sutton, Martin Savidge and Jareen Imam contributed to this report.
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