Gulf Coast to Northeast being hit with wintry mix of snow, ice

A storm stretching across the eastern U.S. was playing havoc with travel.

— -- The Southeast and the entire Gulf Coast region was paralyzed on Wednesday morning with hundreds of schools and flights canceled and interstates shut down.

A state of emergency has been declared in North Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana due to the winter weather moving through the region, while a state of emergency went into effect in Alabama on Monday evening. Schools in at least 10 states were either canceled or delayed.

The South experienced a rare blast of rough winter weather.

At least 10 people in the South have died, including a baby in a car that plunged off a slippery overpass and into a canal in Louisiana, The Associated Press reported. In Houston, a homeless man was found dead behind a trash bin, and an 82-year-old woman with dementia died after walking away from her home in freezing temperatures.

Hundreds of accidents were reported Tuesday in the Houston area as the storm began to move through the region. In Georgia, car crashes resulted in blocked roads, prompting the Georgia Department of Transportation to ask motorists to stay off the roads. Numerous wrecks also occurred in Winona, Mississippi, due to the winter driving conditions, and Virginia State Police had responded to at least 68 crashes statewide.

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. was involved in a traffic accident in North Carlina, crashing into a pine tree in North Carolina after helping another motorist attempting to drive through the snow.

Alabama went to the extreme step of canceling classes for every public school in the state -- about 727,000 students -- on Wednesday, while more than 27,444 customers were without power in North Carolina by Wednesday afternoon, the North Carolina Office of Emergency Management said on Twitter.

Record cold was recorded in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Greenwood, Mississippi. The mercury touched 19 degrees in Houston, the first time the temperature dropped into the teens since 1996.

About 1 to 3 inches of snow fell in Atlanta, with 2.3 inches at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Storm alerts were issued from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, with even a freeze watch for usually warm central Florida.

Snow will continue in the Northeast Wednesday afternoon, with the heaviest falling just east of Boston and north of New York City.

During the evening rush hour, major delays are expected in the Carolinas from Columbia to Raleigh.

Snow will be falling around Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia, where slick roads are also expected.

When all is said and done, the heaviest snow will fall in western Massachusetts and into northern New England where 9 inches is possible in the highest elevations.

A half a foot of snow is also possible in North Carolina.

Cold air follows behind

The cold air follows the storm all the way into the Gulf Coast and Florida for the next couple of days.

Thursday morning will be the coldest in the Southeast and Florida, where a freeze watch has been issued for Tampa. A wind chill advisory was issued for Fort Myers.

It will feel like single digits in Atlanta and in the teens and 20s in Florida.

ABC News' Rachel Katz contributed to this report.