BUFFALO, N.Y. —Hoods were up and heads were down as a storm that plagued the Midwest for days plodded eastward Tuesday with knifing winds and blowing snow, stranding dozens of motorists on a southern Ontario highway and giving much of the northeastern U.S. its first real taste of winter.
The storm brought bone-chilling cold, and more snow was expected or already falling Tuesday in parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The frigid air stretched into the deep South, where hard freeze warnings were in effect overnight in much of Florida. Hundreds of schools were closed or opening late.
About 300 people spent a frigid night hunkered down in their cars on a highway near Sarnia, Ontario, about 65 miles northeast of Detroit. They were rescued by buses and military helicopters Tuesday, Canadian officials said. Ontario Community Safety Minister Jim Bradley said he had no reports of deaths or injuries among the stranded.
Colin Steward spent 25 hours stuck in his car, napping, phoning relatives and updating Facebook from his BlackBerry, the 50-year-old said Tuesday in a phone interview from his car.
"What can I do? "he said.
Much farther south, helicopters were being used on Florida's valuable and sensitive vegetable crops, an unusual approach by farmers worried that an uncommon freeze could wipe out their harvests. The choppers hover low over fields to push warmer air closer to the plants.
It was too windy to use helicopters Tuesday morning, but farmer John Hundley said he would try Tuesday night if winds calmed and temperatures did not warm up.
The slow-moving storm that has been crawling across the Midwest since Friday night caused dozens of accidents, stranded more than 100 motorists in Indiana and collapsed the domed roof of an NFL stadium. At least 16 people have died because of the storm, which dumped nearly 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin.