Extreme winter weather blamed for death, delayed flights in East Coast


Extreme Weather continues to pummel East Coast; Delaying flights, canceling schools and causing deaths

U.S. air travel continues to suffer on Thursday, as a majority of flights coming out of Chicago, Illinois’, O’Hare International Airport were canceled and Arriving flights were being delayed an average of 45 minutes and outgoing flights about 30 minutes, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

While much of the Eastern portion of the United States suffers from chilling record low temperatures, The National Weather Service has reported that tempertures have dipped 10 to 35 degrees below normal tempertaures in the past weeks. It has issued a alert in the southeast as the extrememe cold has been blamed for at least seven deaths across the nation.

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Record-breaking lows were forecast for two-thirds of the country, for most areas east of the Rockies. For some regions, even lower temperatures are on tap through the weekend, forecasters said.

Alabama issued a warning to drivers Thursday night, urging them to stay off icy roads as driving conditions were “becoming dangerous” with numerous accidents reported. A wind chill advisory was in effect until Friday in Arkansas, where readings were expected to drop below zero with winds of over 30 mph. A dusting of snow in Atlanta on Thursday night left roads slick after two weeks of below normal temperatures. CNN meteorologist Chad Myers noted that it was warmer in Fairbanks, Alaska, than it was in Atlanta on Thursday morning, calling the cold front sweeping the nation one that “we probably haven’t seen for 15 years.”

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In the Deep South, Florida was under a state of emergency because of the threat to the state’s lucrative citrus and vegetable industries. Gov. Charlie Crist issued an order Tuesday aimed at helping farmers salvage what they can by lifting weight limits on trucks so already-harvested crops can more easily reach markets.

Elsewhere Thursday, the high in Bismarck, North Dakota, was around 11 degrees below zero, with a wind chill of minus 35. Forecasters said the wind chill could dip to 52 degrees below zero overnight. Snowfall amounts of 4 to 8 inches were forecast Thursday for the upper Plains to the Northeast and as far south as Kentucky and Tennessee. Up to 7 inches fell in parts of Illinois. The Southeast is expected to see lower temperatures by Saturday.

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