Snow covers 65 percent of lower 48; more coming
POSTED: Friday, December 28, 2012 - 1:00pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 28, 2012 - 1:04pm
NATIONAL NEWS (CNN) — Snow covers most of the lower 48 states following a week of wicked weather, but forecasters warned on Friday that it's not over yet.
Freezing rain threatened parts of Texas, Missouri and Tennessee and a fresh snow storm is expected to push into the Ohio Valley.
Residents of Oklahoma and Arkansas are "likely to see ice accumulate on top of snow and that could compromise power lines," said CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider. "Keep that in mind for those of you traveling on Interstate 40 specifically."
Snow covers 65% of the ground in the lower 48 states, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. For comparison, last winter's top snow coverage for the lower 48 was nearly 48%.
"That was in February at the peak of winter and we're still in December," Schneider said.
The powerful winter storm that dumped all that snow has moved out over the Atlantic, but not before depositing from 10 to 17 inches of snow across parts of Maine, according to the National Weather Service.
Nationwide, storm-related incidents have been blamed for the deaths of 10 people, including two children in Arkansas and an 81-year-old Alabama man. He died Thursday of injuries suffered when a tree fell on his house in Georgiana.
Snowfall totals of a foot or more were common throughout the Northeast: 21 inches fell in Woodford, Vermont; 17.4 inches in Addison, New York; and 15 inches in Ashfield, Massachusetts.
Caleb Clark, a CNN iReporter in Brattleboro in southern Vermont, called it a 'classic snowstorm.' "
"(It is) a nice and fluffy New England snow, not too dangerous and you could walk around without mittens," he said.
For travelers, major airports reported relatively few weather-related problems after a week that included thousands of flight delays and cancellations.
Friday's storm in the South is expected to move into the Northeast on Saturday.
Two to four inches of snow could fall from southern Illinois to New Jersey. New York City will see a couple inches of snow on Saturday. Areas of Connecticut to eastern Massachusetts could see higher snow amounts by Saturday night depending on the storm's track.
Here's the damage that the winter storm has wrought so far:
On the roads on Thursday, the storm triggered multi-vehicle pileups and other traffic nightmares across the Midwest.
Even drivers in the Northeast had a tough time navigating the icy conditions. Jim DeMarino said a normally four-hour drive from Pittsburgh to northern Virginia took eight hours.
DeMarino, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, submitted photos of what he called a "tricky drive" along highways that were "scattered with abandoned, crashed and disabled vehicles."
Dozens of tornadoes
The same weather system that dumped heavy snow in the Midwest and Northeast spawned as many as 30 tornadoes on Christmas, some with wind speeds of more than 100 mph, across the Southeast.
Several of Tuesday's powerful twisters struck Alabama. In Mobile County, David Saraceno spotted something ominous as he sped down Interstate 165 on Tuesday. He was traveling with his wife and 1-year-old daughter to visit family when he saw a tornado on the side of the road. His wife videotaped it.
"It looked like it was about two miles away from us," Saraceno said. "I put the pedal to the floor to try and get out of harm's way, but it seemed to be getting closer and closer."
Panicked, Saraceno got off the interstate near the town of Chickasaw, drove in a different direction and turned around to go home.
Winter wonderland in Dallas
For others, the winter storm system brought a rare white Christmas.
In Dallas, some residents had to change from short sleeves to winter coats on Tuesday, as temperatures plummeted from the 60s to the low 20s in one day.
"We knew it was going to be a white Christmas in Dallas this year as per the weather advisory, but were not aware it will turn out to be so beautiful and freezing cold," Shail Bhatt said.
It's not often that Dallas gets more snow than Chicago, but that's what happened this week.
CNN's Monica O'Connor and Daphne Sashin contributed to this report.