A deep freeze gripped almost the entire United States on Friday — pushing temperatures to 20 below in Wyoming, emptying stores in Texas of firewood and threatening to knock out power across an ice-glazed swath of the South and Midwest.
Hundreds of flights were delayed and more than 100,000 people were left in the dark as sleet weighed down power lines and snapped tree branches. At least five governors declared states of emergency.
Winter storm warnings covered parts of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. The manager of a Home Depot store in Dallas concluded: “It’s almost like a Black Friday. But I guess we’ll call it an ice Friday.”
Only a slice of the East Coast was spared the winter blast. Elsewhere, the story was ice, snow and brutal cold.
Big Sky Country woke up to double-take temperatures. It was 23 degrees below zero in Laramie, Wyo., and felt like 41 below. In Helena, Mont., the mercury fell to 10 below, with a wind child of minus 29.
In Rapid City, S.D., it was so cold that they had to close an outdoor skating rink.