Cold Sweeping U.S. Hits the South With an Unfamiliar Freeze _ MilectoCold Sweeping U.S. Hits the South With an Unfamiliar Freeze _ Milecto

Heavy rain and wind hit a large part of the Southern United States on Monday, making it hard to celebrate the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Several leaders in Tennessee to Texas, states that don’t usually have such harsh winters, announced states of emergency because of the snow and ice.

Events meant to remember Dr. King had to be cancelled or moved in places where big winter storms don’t happen very often. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, which is near where Dr. King was killed in 1968, said it would be closing and instead offered special programmes online. This is different from how things usually work—on holidays, the museum usually lets everyone in for free—because of the bad weather.

In the same way, a yearly M.L.K. Day walk in San Antonio had to be cancelled because of “dangerously low temperatures and potentially hazardous walking conditions.” This shows how unexpected weather can change plans for celebrations.

Even the events that decided to proceed faced their share of disturbances. Gary Bledsoe, who holds the position of president at the Texas N.A.A.C.P., had plans to deliver a keynote address during a breakfast event in the Houston area. However, he had to abandon this plan while driving down from his home in Austin.

Mr. Bledsoe told his family when he got home, “I had to turn back because the conditions on the highway became very bad.” He then talked about how his windscreen had a lot of ice and sleet on it, making it annoying to drive. When he tried to use his de-icer, he ran into another problem: the frozen water stopped it from working.

Texas officials were very careful with the recent storm because they were still thinking about the terrible events that happened in 2021 that killed many people and cut power to millions of people. After expressing his worries, Governor Greg Abbott warned that a large part of the state would likely experience freezing conditions for a long time this week. Even though Texas hasn’t had any major problems yet, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas asked people to save power on Monday and Tuesday morning by not using big machines and turning off lights.

At Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, which just marked its 50th anniversary, there were more delays and cancellations as the temperature dropped into the teens and snow blew across the runways. More delays happened on an American Airlines flight to Sacramento that was already very full. At 1 a.m. on Monday, the pilot told the passengers that the de-icing line was back up with 15 planes ahead of them.

With just 1:52 minutes remaining in what could have been the Detroit Lions’ first home playoff football victory in 32 years, a Dallas-Fort Worth NBC affiliate disrupted its programming on Sunday night, disappointing viewers despite Texas being on alert due to the winter weather.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Bud Kennedy said it was one of the most awkward times in the history of the TV station known for its local news weather segment. For two minutes, @nbcdfw showed what seemed like a normal report with forecasts, maps, and wind chill before quickly switching back to the postgame show.

Later, both the weather and the host said sorry during the show. At the same time, parts of the country were dealing with very cold weather that was more typical for this time of year…

While the presidential caucuses were going on in Iowa, the National Weather Service warned of “life-threatening cold.” Monday, it was about 10 degrees below zero in Des Moines, and by Tuesday morning, it could feel as cold as 35 degrees below zero because of the wind.

Terribly cold weather was also hitting other parts of the Midwest and Great Plains. In Helena, Montana, it was -24 degrees, in Chicago it was -9 degrees, and in Omaha it was 4 degrees.

While the Northeast experienced milder temperatures, parts of the Mid-Atlantic and northern New England were anticipating snowfall in the coming days. New York City, in particular, might witness its first measurable snowfall in nearly two years, with a forecast of two to three inches expected to descend in and around the city starting Monday night.

However, it was the southern states that found themselves grappling with an unusual bout of cold weather. Governors in Alabama, Kentucky, and Mississippi took the step of declaring states of emergency, though the fortunate closure of many offices due to the holiday eased some of the challenges.

Across Arkansas, Monday saw low temperatures in the single digits or teens, and the expected high for the day in Little Rock was a mere 23 degrees.

The National Weather Service reported that on Sunday, several cities in Arkansas set records for both low temperatures and snowfall. North Little Rock, for example, experienced a low of 8 degrees, breaking the previous record of 10 set in 1979.

Tennessee saw up to six inches of snow in certain areas, prompting House Speaker Cameron Sexton to announce the cancellation of all official legislative meetings for the entire week. In Mississippi, officials issued warnings about icy road conditions covering about a third of the state.

On Sunday, in a Facebook post, State Representative Dan Eubanks shared an unfortunate experience of a six-car pileup caused by black ice in Batesville, Miss. Running for a U.S. Senate seat, he humorously expressed, “Well, I didn’t beat the winter storm; I guess it beat me.” A Walmart employee in Hernando, Miss., just south of Memphis, posted on Facebook to warn customers that the store had run out of heaters and heated blankets due to high demand caused by the cold weather.

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