11 dead from cold as East Coast braces for winter ‘bomb cyclone’
A massive “bombogenesis” will wreak havoc on the Northeast this week, threatening hurricane-force winds in a region already crippled by deadly cold.
The bombogenesis — an area of low pressure that drops significantly in 24 hours — will result in what’s known as a “bomb cyclone.” And the bomb cyclone, expected to strike Thursday, will likely dump 6 to 12 inches of snow in New England, which will be driven by 40- to 60-mph wind gusts.
But it’s not just New England suffering winter’s wrath. Freezing rain, sleet and snow will smother parts of the Southeast on Wednesday.
It could be the first time in years that some parts of the Southeast have snow.
Tallahassee, Florida, is expecting up to an inch of snow and ice Wednesday, but the city has not had measurable snowfall since 1989, said CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal issued a state of emergency Tuesday for 28 coastal counties ahead of the storm.
Authorities are urging people to stay home as millions in the eastern half of the US face below- and near-freezing temperatures Wednesday.
Many schools canceled classes and government offices closed across the Florida Panhandle and along the entire east coast shoreline.
Florida, southern Georgia and the coastal Carolinas will get a few inches of snow plus some ice before the storm turns into a monster storm, dropping heavy snowfall along the Mid-Atlantic coast and into the Northeast, forecasters say.
At least 11 people in the US have died since Tuesday morning in cold-related deaths, officials said.
A 27-year-old woman was found dead on the shore of Lake Winnebago after she left a New Year’s Eve gathering in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Authorities said Lindsey Klima stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and could have fallen at the shoreline before she succumbed to the cold, CNN affiliate WLUK reported.
Klima’s death is among five weather-related deaths in Wisconsin. Two other people have died in North Dakota and Missouri.
Four others have died in Texas, including two homeless people who died in Houston after being exposed to freezing conditions, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted.
The frigid temperatures led to temporary closures at water parks in Florida and prompted authorities to open dozens of emergency shelters.
In Pensacola, the weather turned fountains into ice sculptures and froze the top of an above-ground pool.
“My newest daughter started to cry saying that their pool was gone!” Alex Vieira told CNN.
Florida Department of Agriculture spokesman Aaron Keller said the cold weather could be endangering crops such as citrus, peppers and strawberries.
“The further south you go, the less cold tolerant the crops get,” Keller said. “If the cold weather predictions go below Orlando, it could be a problem.”
Forecasters warned about possible snow on the beach and high winds that could knock down power lines and palm trees coated in ice and snow, the NWS Charleston office said.
Single-digit temps in the Northeast
So far, New York City has not gotten above freezing since Christmas Day.
And the weather is going to be even more miserable in the next few days.
The bombogenesis will help usher in another round of blustery single-digit temperatures to the Northeast.
UK hit by cyclone, Canada is below zero
The US isn’t alone in its winter misery.
Hurricane-force winds of Storm Eleanor are battering the western shores of the United Kingdom and Ireland. The UK’s weather service, the Met Office, says the storm is expected to bring gusts of up to 90 mph to parts of the UK on Wednesday.
Homes and businesses were damaged by flooding and 55,000 customers lost electricity, ESB Networks, the main power utility in Ireland said in a statement.
Canada is also getting the brutal cold air. Temperatures and wind chills have been well below zero, and there are warnings in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick for snow and wind due to the Nor’easter that is moving up the US East Coast.
The frigid temperature at the Calgary Zoo in Canada was too brutal for even the king penguins, a subantarctic species that usually strut their stuff outside this time of the year.
Zoo employees brought the penguins inside Monday when the temperature dropped to minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 25 degrees Celsius), according to Dr. Malu Celli, Calgary Zoo’s curator.
It’s not that the animals didn’t like the cold.
“If I opened the doors, they would come out,” Celli said. “They enjoy being out, but we just like to look out for their welfare.”