Winter weather: 3 dead in North Carolina tornado; millions still without power in Texas; more ice, snow coming

The unrelenting winter weather is showing no signs of letting up.

At least three people were killed in a tornado that tore through a seaside North Carolina town and millions of people in Texas remained in the dark early Tuesday amid subfreezing temperatures.

The “massive” storm that caused the chaos was forecast to dump heavy snow and freezing rain in parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast on Tuesday while also causing showers and thunderstorms in south Florida that could lead to flash floods, the National Weather Service said.

Across the middle of the U.S., another day “bitter cold” will bring more record temperatures before more snow buries parts of the Southern Plains on Tuesday evening, the Weather Service said. And more low pressure is expected to lead to another winter storm with more snow and ice in the South and Midwest on Wednesday.

In North Carolina, the deadly tornado, which authorities said left at least 10 people injured, hit just after midnight Tuesday in southeastern Brunswick County near Grissettown in the Ocean Ridge Plantation Community.

The tornado damaged at least 50 homes, downed powerlines that left thousands without electricity, and snapped trees in half.

“It’s something like I have never seen before. A lot of destruction. It’s going to be a long recovery process,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said at a press conference early Tuesday.

Brunswick County Emergency Management said people were trapped in homes. Ingram said searches for missing people were underway and will increase during the day. He asked people to avoid the area while crews work to clear the streets and search for victims.

From Monday:150M people under winter advisories as ‘unprecedented’ storm stretches across 25 states

Meanwhile, at least six people in four states died as a result of the winter storm since the weekend.

In Houston early Tuesday, a woman and a girl died from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning at a home without electricity from a car running in an attached garage, police said. The storm could also be to blame for the deaths of two men found along Houston-area roadways, law enforcement officials said. Causes of death were pending Monday night.

Meanwhile, nearly 4 million homes and businesses were without power early Tuesday in Texas, where temperatures dipped into the single digits overnight. And more power outages could be coming, the Weather Service said.

Much of east Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas were under winter storm warnings Tuesday in anticipation of the next round of snow and ice. In Dallas, the Weather Service said more ice and another 2 to 6 inches of snow were expected beginning Tuesday evening.

“Ice accumulations ranging between a quarter to a half inch are possible which would make for hazardous travel conditions, induce more power outages, and cause additional tree damage in these areas,” the Weather Service said.

Part of Oklahoma and Arkansas could see up to 8 inches of snow Tuesday and Wednesday, Weather Service offices said

The forecast office in Norman, Oklahoma, said light winds Tuesday could lead to “periods of very dangerous wind chills,” dropping below negative 20 degrees in Oklahoma City and much of the northern part of the state.

More than 50 million people could see temperatures dip below zero during the next several days, according to the Capital Weather Gang.

On Monday, bitter, record-smashing cold accompanied the storm across the central U.S. Hundreds of daily record low temperatures have been or will be broken during this prolonged “polar plunge,” the weather service said, “with some February and even all-time low temperature records in jeopardy.”

Meanwhile, in the Northeast on Tuesday, up to 10 inches of snow could fall in some areas, the Weather Service offices in New Hampshire and Maine said. Several more inches of snow are possible Thursday and Friday once the storm moves from the South to mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

Contributing: Emma Dill, Wilmington StarNews; The Associated Press

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