Hoods were up and heads were down as a storm that plagued the Midwest for days plodded eastward Tuesday with knifing winds and blowing snow, stranding dozens of motorists on a southern Ontario highway and giving much of the northeastern U.S. its first real taste of winter.
The storm brought bone-chilling cold, and more snow was expected or already falling Tuesday in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The frigid air stretched into the deep South, where hard freeze warnings were in effect overnight in much of Florida. Hundreds of schools were closed or opening late.
CBS News correspondent Mark Strassmann reports across much of the southeast, temperatures plunged up to thirty degrees below normal with record lows in Atlanta: 14 degrees. Vero Beach: 26 degrees. And Daytona Beach: 24 degrees.
Strassmann reports 70 percent of America's citrus comes from Florida groves that are now in a real battle for survival. It's part of the deep freeze that grips so much of America.
John Arnold's grapefruit crop faced ruin. He said he hadn't slept in a day and a half.
Overnight, freezing temperatures menaced the state's billion-dollar citrus crop, two-thirds of it unharvested.
But good news: an overnight low of 28 degrees. Not low enough or long enough to kill the crop. Twenty-seven degrees or lower, lasting four or five hours, would be devastating.
Arnold opens a graprefruit. "It's still juicy," he says, "but it was close. Two to three more hours and we would have lost this crop."
And on a snowbound highway in Ontario, Canada, military choppers had to rescue motorists. More than 300 people had been stranded in snow and ice for more than 24 hours. Ontario Community Safety Minister Jim Bradley said he had no reports of deaths or injuries among the stranded.
In New York, state officials closed sections of two major roadways outside Rochester for about two hours Tuesday afternoon after accidents on snowy roads.
More than 10 inches of new snow had fallen at the Rochester airport by Tuesday morning, but flights were taking off and landing on schedule.
Buffalo is used to getting thumped by lake effect storms coming off Lake Erie.
With temperatures in the teens, Felix Puyarena rode his bike about a mile over cleared streets to get to a subway station. The native of Puerto Rico has lived in Buffalo 10 years and knows the keys to surviving winter: hat, sunglasses, hood and a scarf that covered his face entirely.
"I've got everything," he said. "I'm good."
But after a full day of snowfall, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown issued a driving advisory just in time for the evening commute, asking people not to make unnecessary trips that might hamper plow crews. The city had gotten 4 1/2 inches of new snow by the afternoon, the National Weather Service said.
By noon Tuesday, 20 inches had fallen in Perrysburg, near the Lake Erie shoreline south of Buffalo. Forecasters said some areas along the lakes could get 1 to 2 feet of new snow from this latest storm. Northwest winds from 15 to 25 mph, with gusts to 35 mph, dropped wind-chill readings below zero.
In northern Ohio, the wintry blast made driving risky and pushed some university exams to Christmas week. In Cleveland, where up to 2 feet of snow has already fallen in parts of the snow belt east of the city, as much as 9 more inches could fall before a storm warning expires Wednesday morning.
The slow-moving storm that has been crawling across the Midwest since Friday night caused dozens of accidents, stranded more than 100 motorists in Indiana and collapsed the domed roof of an NFL stadium. At least 16 people have died because of the storm, which dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.
And in Michigan, Jessica Porter went into labor early Sunday during a storm, forcing her and her husband, Greg, to begin a treacherous trek of about 50 miles to a hospital in Traverse City. When blizzard conditions and slick roads halted the trip, they pulled to the side of the road in Elk Rapids and called authorities. Village police arrived and Officer Michael Courson helped deliver baby Bradley in the car.
"That was our only option," Greg Porter told the Traverse City Record-Eagle. "The little one decided that he couldn't wait any longer. He's got a heck of a story to tell."