Winter's Grip Taking Hold Across the Country

Rivers jammed with icebergs the size of cars and bracing in the West for powerful rains.
3:00 | 02/26/14

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Transcript for Winter's Grip Taking Hold Across the Country
giant rainstorm is bearing down on the west coast. And the race is on to protect homes against the threat of the mud, and the floods. In fact, in just one town, they're trying to marshal 30,000 sandbags for the storm hits. And ABC's Alex Perez is on weather watch for us tonight. Reporter: The drenching, powerful storm bringing rain to the thirsty west, is already causing problems to California and Oregon. Wind, strong enough to snap huge trees. It was howling pretty good out here. Reporter: Sandbagging has reached a fever pitch. It sits at the base of the mountains that the Colby fire scorches just a month ago. They hope to fill 12,000 more sandbags and lay miles of concrete barriers. The heaviest rain is expected Friday, which will bring winds up to 60 miles per hour. We're going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Reporter: It takes thousands of sandbags to shore up a home. And barriers to catch run offwater and debris. But what they cannot do is stop mudslides. For much of the rest of the country, winter still rules supreme. In Minneapolis, a ground blizzard. Five-foot snowdrifts. Zero visibility. After a weekend warm-up started breaking ice on rivers, the big refreeze has river towns from the northeast to the midwest, now dealing with destructive ice jams. In Illinois, authorities had to shut down this bridge because of the ice. It's these enormous chunks of ice pushing up against the foundation of this bridge that are a huge concern. The army corps of engineers releasing warm water from a nuclear plant into the river, hoping it will help melt some of the ice. The ice also threatening homes. The water is going to push the ice underneath. And it will crush everything in its path. Reporter: That's a frustrating part for many as they can't do anything about the ice jams right now. Flooding is a big concern. But right now, they're coping with the bitter cold. It's not expected to get above freezing for the next several days.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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