Elmore, AL, United States (4E) – Car crashes due to icy roads caused by a rare winter storm in the Deep South killed two motorists in Alabama and wrecked 250 cars in Austin, Texas on Tuesday.
The two fatalities were killed when seven vehicles crashed on the iced over Canal Bridge on Alabama Highway 14 in Elmore, according to Alabama State Troopers. The mishap also injured five people.
In Tuscaloosa County, the Tuscaloosa Bypass and Watermelon Road near the dam were closed because of frozen roads. Schools and the University of Alabama cancelled classes from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday. Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency on Monday.
In Austin, 260 car crashed were reported from midnight to Tuesday morning, area police and EMS crews said. There was a 20-car wreck in Austin-Travis County. Leander police responded to 19 wrecks, including a school bus that hit a guardrail in the 11400 block of Cherry Hollow Crossing. Williamson County EMS responded to 40 traffic wrecks while Round Rock police responded to 70 wrecks as of 10:30 a.m. Areas roads, schools and businesses were closed.
In South Carolina, Gov. Nikki Haley declared a state of emergency Tuesday that activates the state’s National Guard as rain freezing rain, sleet and snow are expected until 6 p.m. The National Weather Service predicted 1-3 inches of snow in most of the Midlands. Temperature is forecast to remain near freezing all day Wednesday.
Meanwhile, thousands of flights were cancelled at airports across the South, including George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Atlanta-based Delta Airlines cancelled 1,850 flights Tuesday beginning at 11 a.m. affecting 840 flights from the Georgia city.
Schools in Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, and Mobile, Alabama were closed. In Minnesota, most metro schools and the University of Minnesota are closed Tuesday as wind chills were expected to drop as low as 35 to 50 degrees below zero.
The wintry weather will continue to expand eastward across Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and the mid-Atlantic coast through Tuesday night making road travel dangerous due to icy roads.