10 Dead in Record Cold Temps in the South

A heron stands in a pond as ducks and geese travel past as it snows in Concord, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings or winter weather advisories for almost all of North Carolina for Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

A heron stands in a pond as ducks and geese travel past as it snows in Concord, N.C., Wednesday, Jan. 17, 2018. The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings or winter weather advisories for almost all of North Carolina for Wednesday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Snow, ice and a record-breaking blast of cold closed runways, highways, schools and government offices across the South and sent cars sliding off roads Wednesday in a corner of the country ill-equipped to deal with wintry weather.

At least 10 people died, including a baby in a car that plunged off a slippery overpass into a Louisiana canal. Icicles hung from a statue of jazz musicians in normally balmy New Orleans, and drivers unaccustomed to ice spun their wheels across Atlanta, which was brought to a near-standstill by little more than an inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow. The beach in Biloxi, Mississippi, got a light coating. And the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill canceled classes as the storm unloaded at least 8 inches (20 centimeters) of snow in Durham and Greensboro.

Even the best drivers had trouble: Retired NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted that he had just used his winch to help pull a car out of a ditch when he drove off the road and into a tree in North Carolina.

“NC stay off the roads today/tonight. 5 minutes after helping these folks I center punched a pine tree,” he reported.

A spokesman said Earnhardt was not hurt and his pickup had only minor damage. The frigid air that brought snow and ice to the South has ushered in record-breaking low temperatures for New Orleans, Louisiana, as well as other cities in the South. At least four people died in Louisiana, including a man knocked off an elevated portion of Interstate 10 in New Orleans when a pickup spun out on ice, and an 8-month-old baby in a car that slid into a canal in suburban New Orleans. The baby’s mother was in critical condition. Two others died along an icy stretch of I-75 southeast of Atlanta when a driver lost control and hit them, one of them inside a stopped car and the other standing beside it, authorities said.

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