Strong winter storm blasting South with ice, snow

Credit Hammonton

The snow and freezing temperatures prompted officials to close schools, including Florida State University's Tallahassee campus.

The US National Weather Service warned that a major winter storm would bring heavy snow and ice, from Florida in the southeast up to New England and the Northeast on Wednesday and Thursday.

At least 16 deaths were blamed on dangerously cold temperatures that for days have gripped wide swaths of the USA from Texas to New England.

Much of the state is under a weather alert, from freeze warnings and wind chill advisory to a winter storm warning. While the heavy snowfall will offer these provinces a short break from the bone-chilling temperatures, it will receive over 40 cm of snow and gusts up to 130 km/h.

"It has to be cold enough to accumulate", Mark Wool, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tallahassee, told Live Science.

State officials took safety precautions by closing roads and schools after icy roads caused a traffic accident.

The North Carolina Zoo is offering half-priced admission while a bitter cold wave sweeps the South, giving visitors a chance to see polar bears frolic in their kind of weather.

Parts of SC could see 5 to 6 inches of snow.

In Orlando, theme parks closed water attractions due to the cold weather.

On January 3, 2018, Tallahassee residents witnessed their first snowfall in three decades.

The snow lasted only about an hour and reached a mere 0.1 inches at the NWS office and the airport (the official station for record keeping), though higher amounts were reported farther north and east. Accumulations of 3 to 5 inches (8 to 13 centimeters) were possible in eastern North Carolina.

Forecasters expect freezing rain and sleet to end as snow in parts of northern Florida and southern Georgia by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.

Zoo visitors, however, shouldn't expect to see any lions, elephants or gorillas native to Africa on view.

Parts of Florida got a dose of winter weather on Wednesday morning when Mother Nature brought snow and ice to the Sunshine State. The water evaporates into the cold air and falls as snow downwind.

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