East Coast Gets Pounded Again
CENTURY, Fla. (AP) -- Suspected tornadoes tied to a vast winter storm system that pounded much of the East Coast with snow and sleet have turned homes to rubble and damaged a school in the South.
There were no immediate reports of any deaths or serious injuries from the apparent twisters though witnesses said one 94-year-old woman had to be pulled from under the storm debris in one Florida Panhandle community on Monday. State Police in Virginia reported at least three traffic fatalities on roads slickened by snow and sleet.
The suspected tornadoes touched down in the northwest corner of Florida's Panhandle and in Mississippi on Monday, destroying more than a dozen homes, damaging a school while it was in session and trapping the elderly woman, authorities and witnesses said.
Those storms spun off of a vast system that clobbered large areas of the East Coast with more sleet and snow, plunging many in the Northeast into a deep freeze. In the West, it was a very different story: Both Arizona and California basked in record-high temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s at the outset of the week.
Officials in Florida and Mississippi were investigating reports of at least three possible tornadoes. One of the apparent twisters swept through Century, a rural town in the northwest Florida's Panhandle, destroying or significantly damaging about 10 homes, Escambia County spokeswoman Joy Tsubooka said.
Elsewhere in the South, Virginia remained under a winter storm warning until 10 a.m. with authorities warning people to stay off the roads. Virginia State Police said there were at least three fatal crashes and added that two troopers and a firefighter were struck at crash scenes in the Richmond area Monday night. No further information about their conditions was immediately available.
In North Carolina, light freezing rain, sleet and snow caused wrecks and closed schools and businesses.
Further up the heavily populated East Coast, National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Sullivan said there could be 4 to 8 inches of snow in eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and western New York.
Many also were shivering through bitter cold. In several Northeastern cities - including New York, Boston and Hartford, Connecticut - temperatures on Sunday dipped below zero, falling to minus 40 on Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
In the West, Arizona and California were baking in the heat: It was 89 in downtown Los Angeles, breaking 1977's record of 88. The National Weather Service forecasts Phoenix will have highs of 89 on Tuesday and 92 on Wednesday, above the previous records of 84 and 88 degrees, respectively.