A wide swath of the country was shivering in freezing, record-breaking temperatures while other areas were expecting more winter precipitation that forecasters warned could lead to dangerous road conditions Tuesday.
A mix of snow, sleet, rain and freezing rain was expected in parts of the southern Plains and South, where school districts in more than a half-dozen states from Texas east have canceled or delayed classes. Even parts of the coastal Carolinas were bracing for some precipitation.
Meanwhile, the East Coast was enduring colder-than-usual weather. Here’s a look at what’s happening:
DEEP FREEZE IN THE EAST
The Weather Service said that temperatures would be 15 to 25 degrees below average for most of the East Coast west to the Great Lakes and lower Mississippi River Valley.
Massachusetts residents faced temperatures well below zero Tuesday morning and ferry service from one Boston suburb was canceled because the harbor was iced in. The National Weather Service reported that as of 6 a.m. Tuesday, it was minus-18 in Orange and Springfield, and minus-13 in Bedford and Norwood.
Boston was 2 degrees with a wind chill of minus-12.
In upstate New York, most places from Buffalo to the Hudson Valley had below-zero temperatures Tuesday morning, and the National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories or warnings for much of western and central New York. Winds gusting to 35 mph would drive the wind chill down to minus 25 degrees in some areas, forecasters said.
New Hampshire also got off to a frigid start. Subzero temperatures were reported across the state overnight, with temperatures as low as 33 below zero in Whitefield.
SNOW, ICE IN THE SOUTH
Snow was blowing across roads and highways in the north Georgia mountains early Tuesday and ice coated cars in some of metro’s Atlanta’s northern suburbs. In the north Georgia mountains, crews were plowing roads and driveways in state parks, which were open to visitors Tuesday.
National Weather Service forecasters in Jackson, Mississippi, said freezing drizzle continued early Tuesday over much of central Mississippi and some ice could form on some bridges and overpasses. Meteorologist Dan Byrd in Jackson said the drizzle would end Tuesday morning and temperatures would warm up to the 40s.
Blowing snow and a multi-vehicle crash prompted officials to close the Mackinac Bridge, which links Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.
Executive Secretary Bob Sweeney of the Mackinac Bridge Authority said the crash happened around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday on the causeway near the toll booths on the bridge’s north side.
It appears about eight cars were involved, he said. There was no immediate word of injuries.
Winds gusting up to 50 mph were blowing snow off the frozen Straits of Mackinac, making visibility poor, Sweeney said.
Sweeney says officers were re-routing traffic and hundreds of vehicles were waiting to cross the nearly 5-mile-long bridge.
SCHOOL’S OUT, SLEDDING’S IN
In North Carolina, Nicole Kincaid of Wake Forest has a 15-year-old who’s a high school freshman and a 5th-grader who’s 10. The teenager was getting ready to leave the house Tuesday morning when he got a Twitter notification of the two-hour school delay.
He was waiting at the house with friends when they learned school was canceled. Being a teenager, he went back to bed, Kincaid said.
“My 10-year-old is just waking up and going outside,” Kincaid said. “We have good sledding hills in our neighborhood. And I may join him for some of that sledding.”
APPALACHIAN HIKING TRAIL
At the Top of Georgia Hostel & Hiking Center, a shelter for hikers on the Appalachian Trail, the branches of pine trees were dipping low with the weight of about 4 inches of snow, proprietor Bob Gabrielsen said Tuesday morning.
About 16 hikers spent the night Monday, Gabrielsen said, and all of them hiked out Tuesday morning on the trail, which was transformed into a bright white snowscape in the north Georgia mountains east of Hiawassee. This time of year, some hikers camp on the trail itself.
Gabrielsen warned that inexperienced hikers could find themselves in trouble, since weather forecasts aren’t always accurate, cellphone coverage can be spotty or nonexistent and roads can be several miles away.
SNOW FOR SALE
A Massachusetts man has found a way to profit from the several feet of snow in his yard by shipping it to people in warmer climates for the bargain price of $89 for six pounds.
Kyle Waring, of Manchester-by-the-Sea, got the idea while shoveling snow earlier this winter and launched ShipSnowYo.com.
At first, he shipped 16.9-ounce snow-filled bottles for $19.99, but he found the snow melted by the time it arrived at its destination.
So he came up with a new plan, selling six pounds at a time. He tells The Boston Globe (http://bit.ly/17SWbEt) even if the snow melts a little by the time it arrives the package can still make 10 to 15 snowballs.
He’s also started offering 10-pound packages for $119.
JET SLIPS OFF RUNWAY
Nobody was hurt after an American Airlines jet slid off a taxiway and got stuck in the grass during wintry conditions at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, officials said.
The MD-80 plane’s front nose gear slipped off the taxiway as the airplane turned a corner Monday night, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford said.
Airline officials say 63 passengers and five crew members were onboard Flight 296 from San Antonio. All passengers safely exited the plane and were taken by a bus to an airport terminal.
Airline officials haven’t confirmed what caused the plane to slip off the taxiway.
WATER HANDED OUT
The Kentucky National Guard was helping distribute water in communities where many households were without due to bitter cold temperatures.
News media outlets report Gov. Steve Beshear’s office said more than 40,000 households were without water Tuesday in 18 counties. Those hit hardest include Harlan, Pike and Clay counties.
Some central Kentucky communities are also starting to report water woes. On Monday night, Winchester Municipal Utilities issued a mandatory water conservation order.
Officials say multiple issues have led to shortages, including broken lines, power outages and people dripping faucets to keep pipes from freezing.