"Over a foot of wind-driven snow has fallen across northern Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with a few places reporting 20 to 25 inches," says CBS News meteorologist George Cullen. "This isn't your typical wet, gloppy springtime snow. It's more like January! ... It's a dry, powdery snow which has been blowing and drifting, creating whiteout conditions throughout the region."
Ohio got a dusting of snow overnight, causing slippery road conditions just days after Ohioans were enjoying warm, even summer-like temperatures. Numerous traffic accidents were reported, although no fatalities.
The spring storm that spread across Maine on Thursday dumped nearly a foot and a half of heavy, wet snow in Maine, slowing traffic, closing schools, and knocking down power lines, at a time when thoughts usually turn to flower gardens and landscaping.
"We had Easter on December 25th. People had crocuses coming out and blooms on bushes. And now we have Christmas, with all this snow," said meteorologist Butch Roberts of the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine. "It's a little topsy-turvy sometimes."
"It's going to remain cold and snowy for the next few days" in New England, says Cullen.
The same storm in New Hampshire closed schools, knocked out power to thousands and caused numerous traffic accidents, including a fatal crash on Interstate 93.
Utility crews worked through the night and into Thursday trying to restore electricity after the heavy snow took down trees and limbs — and power lines — throughout the state.
"We've asked for help and been promised help, and help is on the way," said Public Service Company of New Hampshire spokesman Martin Murray, whose utility was reporting about 80,000 homes and businesses without power Thursday morning.
"We had that string of spring-like temperatures which I think lulled us into believing that winter is over, but this morning, it isn't," says Sera Congi of CBS station WBZ-TV. She described her ride from Boston to Lancaster, Mass., about 50 miles, as "very messy, very unpredictable ... one moment it was slushy and wet, and the next, we would hit a patch of ice."
It was also snowing in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning.
The same storm system has already blanketed parts of the Midwest.
"It's going to remain extremely cold for this time of year everywhere from the Upper Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic states, right through the weekend," says Cullen. "Even across the Deep South, record lows are likely over the next two to three nights, with some chilly days in Augusta for the Masters golf tournament."
Midwest farmers were doing everything they could to protect crops from the cold, including vineyards in Missouri and orchards in Illinois, reports John Mills of CBS station KMOV in St. Louis. People were covering their backyard gardens with blankets.
"We've had unusually warm weather for the past two weeks — temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Flowers are blooming," Mills said. "Now dangerous cold is threatening to kill everything that sprouted early."