A huge winter storm has brought snow and ice across the US, triggering weather warnings in states stretching from Mississippi to Maine, snarling travel and leaving at least 130,000 people without power as it moved north.
On Sunday, Winter Storm Izzy dumped as much as 25cm (10 inches) of snow in parts of North Carolina, where two people died after their car drove off the road near the state capital, Raleigh. Local media also reported the roof of a residence hall at Brevard College collapsed under the weight of snow, but no injuries were reported.
In Florida, two tornadoes swept across the state’s southwest, with one destroying at least 30 mobile homes after touching down for nearly three kilometres (two miles) and the other damaging about 25 homes.
Edward Murray, 81, told the Naples Daily News that he was inside his mobile home on Sunday morning when a tornado picked it up and tossed it on top of his neighbour’s home. No deaths were reported in the state.
“That’s my house that’s turned upside down,” he told the newspaper. “The tornado took me off my feet, blew me toward the east wall and buried me under the sink, refrigerator, kitchen chairs, and everything else.”
The governors of Georgia, Virginia, and North Carolina all declared states of emergency as the storm hit.
“If you’re able tonight and tomorrow morning, stay home and off the roads,” Kemp said on Twitter. “It’s going to be treacherous in a lot of parts of our state.”
Across the region, 235,000 people lost power as of early Sunday, with the bulk of those affected in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. By the end of the day, about 130,000 remained without power, according to poweroutage.us.
The icy conditions also snarled travel, with about 3,000 flights within, into or out of the US cancelled on Sunday, and more than 8,000 flights delayed, according to FlightAware data.
In total, US media reported more than 80 million people were under winter weather alerts as the storm headed towards the US northeast and Canada, where the snow is expected to change to ice, sleet and eventually rain going into Monday.
A swath of the US, from the upper Ohio Valley in the north to the lower Great Lakes region, could expect more than 30cm (one foot) of snow on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
In Canada, the storm is forecast to dump between 20 and 40cm (eight to 16 inches) of snow through Monday morning over parts of southern and eastern Ontario, the Canadian province that shares part of its border with New York state, the government weather agency, Environment Canada, said.
The conditions hit just as Ontario schools were set to reopen for in-person classes on Monday after the winter break was extended because of the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant.
Meanwhile, most people in the US had a long weekend as Monday is Martin Luther King Jr Day, a federal holiday.