by: Sam Zukin
On Jan. 16, Winter Storm Inga pummeled the South with snowfall, leaving chaos and devastation in its wake. Authorities urged residents in these areas to stay home and off the icy roads.
The Weather Channel reported that snow fell as far south as Denton, Florida, located in the state’s panhandle. Snow reports like this in Florida have not been this severe since seven years ago. Authorities closed the Bob Sikes Bridge to Pensacola Beach to ensure safety after it became dangerously icy. Snow also reached Mobile, AL, where the Mobile Regional Airport recorded 0.1 inches, making it the second time since January 1977 that measurable amounts of snow fell in the area.
Alabama, along with North Carolina and Georgia, have declared state emergencies due to the severity of Inga. Atlanta had an estimated 2.3 inches of snowfall during the night of Jan.16 and the morning of Jan. 17. The ferocity of the storm forced school districts to close, a trend that occurred in most of the Southern states. The storm allegedly resulted in a 10-car pileup on Interstate 85 in Northeastern Georgia on Jan. 17, shutting down the major highway.
Snowfall grew rampant in North Carolina; Charlotte recorded 3.5 inches while Durham recorded a monumental 11 inches as of the evening of Jan. 17. Chapel Hill also recorded as many as 5 inches of snow. North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said: “Nearly all of North Carolina will be impacted by this winter storm, and we’re making sure North Carolina is ready.”
The Washington D.C. area witnessed some light snowfall amounting to 0.4 inches. Inga also hit western Kentucky with about 9 inches in Murray and 8.1 inches at the National Weather Service in Paducah. Near Hart County in Kentucky, the arctic like climate led to a multi-vehicle collision on Interstate 65 which caused injuries but left no fatalities. Interstate 49 in Shreveport, Louisiana also closed to do perilous cold conditions.
The state of Arkansas also saw up to 8.5 inches near Omaha. Areas surrounding the major cities of Austin, Houston, and San Antonio covered in sleet and snow led to multiple accidents. As of the morning of Jan. 17, approximately 60,000 homes in Texas and Louisiana remain without power. Airlines cancelled hundreds of flights out of safety concerns due to the weather with Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Bush Continental Airport being among the worst hit airports. According to The Weather Channel, six people have died as a result of Winter Storm Inga. The causes of deaths included car collisions and exposure to the cold air. Inga has also been a threat to northeastern and midwestern states where there has been moderate snowfall.
(Sources: Weather.com, Wunderground.com, Newsweek)