It was so cold in Florida, freezing iguanas were seen falling out of trees.
SHOOT: Do you notice that these extremes are like something out of a climate thriller. One year the US will see hurricanes, the next freezing cold. I believe with the ice caps melting, a lot of very cold air is being released into the atmosphere. This also means, the more they melt [due to higher than normal ocean temperatures] the colder it will get.
In coastal North Carolina, volunteers were scrambling to save endangered sea turtles that were stunned by the cold and stranded off the Outer Banks.
"This air mass originated on the ice cap at the top of the world," said Bobby Boyd, a weather service forecaster in Nashville. He said the cold shot wouldn't be spent until it plunged southeastward and moved well beyond Cuba into the Caribbean.
In a rare turn for the South, forecasters warned that snow and ice were possible Thursday from South Carolina to Louisiana and wind chills in the region could get down to near zero at night.
In Maine, a pilot died Monday after he reported ice buildup on the wings of his small plane and it crashed into a river channel. Searchers were also looking for an 18-year-old snowmobiler who disappeared on New Year's Day. And in Wisconsin a 7-year-old boy died when he fell through ice into a river while sledding with friends.
In central and south Florida, farmers were trying to salvage citrus and vegetable crops by spraying them in protective layers of ice and covering them in plastic.