Transcript for Deep Freeze in 24 States
We are here in Washington, D.C. For the president's state of the union address. And one thing is certain, tonight, this union is in the grip of a deep freeze. More than 140 million Americans in 24 states with a big chill. The slick ice and a scramble for help. As tonight, we take you down south, where the palm trees are frozen and the fountains are icicles. ABC's Steve osunsami standing by in Greenville, North Carolina. Reporter: First, a blizzard. And now, brutal cold for parts of the midwest. Windchills as low as 40 below. The first time in years the south is really feeling it, too. Governors sending in the National Guard to deal with a rare snow and ice storm. As soon as the first snowflakes fell, school officials across nine southern states started cancelling classes. The icy roads no place for a school bus. Outside Asheville, north Carolina, sixeenagers were on the bus ride home when they flipped the on the ice. And one of them had to be hospitalized. Just come around the curb. Just slid off in the ditch. Reporter: Tonight, schoolchildren in Alabama are stuck at school. The roads, too dangerous for parents to come get them. If you trust your teacher to take care of your child during the day, they will be taken care of tonight. Reporter: This was a freeway in Austin, Texas, today. Police here reporting more than 214 accidents and counting. Passed about ten wrecks on the way here. Reporter: In New Orleans, where the city doesn't own a single salt truck or snowplow, they're calling this their worst winter storm in at least ten years. Winter storms of this nature are very, very unpredictable. And are to be respected. Reporter: Around Atlanta, the highways were a mess. I haven't seen it like this in years. Reporter: Families who emptied grocery stores spent hours trying to get home on the icy roads. I'd advise, if you ain't got to be out, stay at home. Reporter: For cities like Wilmington, North Carolina, Myrtle Beach, Charleston, this is their first measurable snow in years. And some areas could see between six and ten inches. Greenville, North Carolina, is expecting snow all night. And they only have three snowplows. The city of New York has dozens, if not hundreds of snowplows. You have how many? Three. Reporter: Three. We do hurricanes. We don't do snow. Reporter: Just yesterday, it was 65 degrees here. Here are those three snowplows here in Greenville, waiting for the snow. It's starting to sleet already. Governors across the south tonight declaring states of emergency, trying to get resources like these to the places where they're most needed. Diane? As you were saying, Steve, it's once in a generation. Thank you. Is there any relief in sight? Let's go to ABC's meteorologist, ginger zee, now, with the answer. Ginger? Diane, that's the question that everyone is asking. You see the ice chunks floating on the Hudson river behind me, I have an answer. Yes, relief is in sight. We have to get through the system first. The low pressure system slides across the southeast. It will pull away tomorrow morning. You see the coastal Carolinas getting a little of the snow and freezing rain mix. And then, it is the windchill that settles in. That's going to be the headline early for so many people. Really, the eastern two-thirds of the nation, that's the brunt of the cold. And that white color is zero. But places like Atlanta, that will struggle to make it to freezing, as we go into your Wednesday, will be 60 by the weekend. Diane?
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