Words by: Kevin Keise

The calendar date for the winter season beings on Saturday, December 21, but Winter Storm Avery began yesterday.

Avery hit the south Wednesday is doing its damage early. The snowstorm that brought snow to Arkansas, Lousiana, and Mississippi is already responsible for two deaths and is projected to bring a heap of ice rain, sleet, and snow all across the Northeast.

According to The Weather Channel, “Winter Storm Avery is spreading a mess of rain, snow, and ice into parts of the mid-Mississippi Valley, Ohio Valley and soon into the East. Conditions will go downhill across the Appalachians and Northeast on Thursday.”

Avery began in the Deep South where temperatures are usually never this low, this early in the season. The National Weather Service reported at least 0.1 inches of snow was recorded in Ouachita Parish near Monroe Regional Airport, destroying its record earliest-in-season measurable snow by ten days, previously occurring as early as Nov. 24, 1950.

Also, because of yesterday’s pre-storm weather conditions, a  tour bus leaving Alabama headed to a Mississippi casino, flipped over on an icy highway in DeSoto County, Miss., near Memphis. The slippery crash left two people dead and 44 others aboard with injuries.

Joshua Pounders, a DeSoto County Coroner, reported that the two people killed were 70-year-old Betty Russell and 61-year-old Cynthia Hardin, both of Huntsville, Alabama.

The National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the areas that are forecasted to receive significant impact from Avery, meanwhile, in southeast Lousiana, they issued a freeze advisory.

According to the USA Today, “over 80 million people live where some level of a winter storm alert is in effect, all the way from Arkansas to Maine over a distance of about 1,500 miles.”

School districts in the Tri-States are reported to have already announced they’ll close on Thursday, and school districts in New Jersey will have an early dismissal. More power outages and school closing are projected to happen within the next two days as the strength of the storm increases.