NEW: Storm good news for Vermont ski resorts
Snow now covers 65% of lower 48 states, forecasters say
More snow predicted for Ohio Valley and the Northeast
This week's wicked weather blamed for 10 deaths, authorities say
Snow covers most of the lower 48 states after 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 snowstorm was 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.
Since it swept across the country this week, the storm has killed 10 people, including two children in Arkansas and an 81-year-old Alabama man. He died Thursday of injuries he suffered when a tree fell on his house in Georgiana on Christmas, an official with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency said.
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.
The front was welcome news to snow enthusiasts in Vermont and northern New York.
“It will keep the ski resorts happy and they won’t waste money making snow,” said John Goff, lead forecaster of the National Weather Service office in Burlington.
The area hopes to return to a normal winter of about 80 inches of snow, up dramatically from the scant 37 to 38 inches it received last season, Goff said. “Usually you get one or two whoppers like this and it will get you caught up quickly.”
Snowfall totals will be smaller Saturday, he predicted, with 2 to 4 inches in valleys and 3 to 6 inches in the mountains.
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.
The storm left thousands of passengers stranded after flight cancellations.
Friday’s storm in the South was 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 brought so far:
The storm triggered multivehicle pileups and other traffic nightmares across in the Midwest. In Ohio, nursing student Carrie Winger saw the aftermath of a fatal wreck in Cincinnati on Wednesday, which left one woman dead. She said she shared a photo of the crash site with CNN iReport to warn other drivers to slow down.
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 Wednesday, the day after Christmas.
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.”
Tornadoes in Alabama, Mississippi
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 over 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 then turned around to go home.
Mississippi remained under a state of emergency Friday, with 12 counties reporting storm damage. Nearly 60 homes were destroyed in those counties, and 22 injuries were reported.
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 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. “Sometimes we wear shorts on Christmas in Texas,” said Chris Purcell, who told CNN there’s still plenty of snow on the ground. “We built a snowman and went (sledding) and had a snowball fight … all the basics.”
CNN’s Monica O’Connor, Phil Gast and Daphne Sashin contributed to this report.