Thousands of commuters across the South are desperate after spending 12 hours or more stuck in traffic because of a storm that brought the region's biggest cities to their knees.
Two inches of snow isn't supposed to turn highways into campsites. Backups aren't supposed to last all day, through the night, and into the following morning.
And yet, here they were - hundreds of motorists across Alabama and Georgia - still hunched over in their cars Wednesday morning, feeling the aftereffects of a snow shower that hit the states more than 12 hours earlier.
In Atlanta, seven students children were still making their way home on a school bus at 5:30 a.m. ET Wednesday morning - a full 16 hours after school let out and they got on.
To see more, visit CNN.com and to hear CNN's Jason Evans describe his ten hour struggle to get home in the Southern snow in Atlanta, click on the video above.
The commuter train that jumped its tracks in the Bronx was barreling into a curve at nearly three times the posted speed when it derailed, killing four passengers, federal safety officials said Monday.
Preliminary data from the event recorders aboard the train clocked it at 82 mph as it approached the 30-mph curve, where the Hudson and Harlem rivers converge, National Transportation Safety Board member Earl Weener told reporters. The data show the engineer cut the throttle and slammed on the brakes, but those moves came "very late in the game," Weener said.
"This is raw data off the event recorders, so it tells us what happened. It doesn't tell us why it happened," Weener said.
Investigators questioned the engineer, William Rockefeller, and the rest of the train crew on Monday. Rockefeller told investigators he applied the brakes, but the train didn't slow down, according to a law enforcement official who was at the scene and is familiar with the investigation.
But while the cause of the derailment has not yet been determined, investigators have seen no indication of brake problems, Weener said.
All seven coaches and the locomotive came off the tracks in the Sunday morning crash on New York's Metro-North Hudson line. In addition to the four dead, at least 67 more were hurt. Three remained in critical condition Monday night, and 16 others were still hospitalized, hospitals told CNN.
The train's recorded speed is not only far faster than the rated speed for the curve where the derailment occurred, it's faster than the 70 mph posted for the section of track that led into the curve, Weener said. The force of the crash ripped apart the rails and a section of the track bed, leaving chunks of concrete strewn about the scene.
David Schanoes, a former deputy chief of field operations for the Metro-North line, said the data is "uncannily similar" to a July rail crash in Spain that left 79 dead.
A commuter train derailed in a curve in the New York borough of the Bronx on Sunday, killing four people and leaving dozens hurt, investigators said.
All seven passenger cars and the locomotive jumped the tracks near the Spuyten Duyvil station, about 10 miles north of Manhattan's Grand Central Terminal, the National Transportation Safety Board reported. Three of the dead were thrown out of the train as it "came off the track and was twisting and turning," New York Fire Department Chief Edward Kilduff told reporters.
Surviving passenger Amanda Swanson told CNN the windows of the coaches broke out, and "the gravel came flying up in our faces."
"I really didn't know if I would survive," said Swanson, who put her bag in front of her face to block the rubble. "The train felt like it was on its side and dragging for a long time. ... The whole thing felt like slow motion."
The train was en route to Grand Central from Poughkeepsie, 74 miles up the Hudson River, when it derailed about 7:20 a.m., NTSB member Earl Weener said Sunday. At least 67 people were injured, said Joe Bruno, New York's commissioner of emergency management, and 11 remained in critical condition Sunday evening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told reporters.
They sifted through the darkness, hoping their flashlights would shine on something - anything - salvageable.
Instead, they found their life's belongings strewn in pieces among heaps of rubble where their homes once stood.
But they were the fortunate ones - the ones who survived after 81 reported tornadoes tore through the Midwest on Sunday. The storms killed six people and destroyed at least 70 homes in Illinois alone CNN's Indra Petersons reports.
"These storms having been moving so fast today, it's been hard to keep up," storm chaser Tony Laubach told CNN as he watched a tornado touch down outside Lebanon, Indiana.
In their aftermath, the storms left impassable roads, widespread outages and blocks and blocks of homes stripped bare. Hundreds of thousands were affected; the economic impact in the millions.
"A lot of people have a pile of rubble still, and I don't have anything," said Michelle Crumrine. "It's gone. I don't know where it went."
Crumrine was out of town when her neighborhood in Washington, Illinois, was hit. She returned to a wasteland.
Of all the cities ravaged by the storms, this city of 10,000 people in central Illinois was perhaps the hardest hit.
"It was complete destruction," said resident Anthony Khoury. "There are people in the streets crying."
As the dark twister churned toward his home, Khoury kept his camera glued to the window - and prayed. "Our father, thou art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name."
"The tornado happened in my backyard, and you can hear people screaming," Khoury told CNN's iReport. "We were freaking out."
Investigators have yet to determine the extent of the wrath - including exactly how many tornadoes touched down. Two National Weather Service teams will survey the damage Monday - one in Washington, and one in east central Illinois.
No one knows why he picked this day, this time, these victims.
It was the first day back from fall break at Sparks Middle School. Students milled about, waiting to hear the morning bell.
Within moments, two 12-year-old students were wounded. A beloved teacher and military veteran lay dead. And the young shooter - armed with his parents' gun - took his own life, silencing any way of understanding what he was thinking.
Before Monday morning, the young gunman seemed like the antithesis of a school shooter.
"He was really a nice kid," schoolmate Amaya Newton told CNN. "He would make you smile when you were having bad day."
But for whatever reason, the boy, whom authorities have not identified, took his parents' handgun to school, a federal law enforcement source said.
"I believe it was because I saw him getting bullied a couple of times, and I think he took out his bullying," Amaya said.
Amaya said she thought the two students at the Nevada school were friends of the shooter.
"It's too early to say whether he was targeting specific people or just going on an indiscriminate shooting spree," Reno police Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said.
The rescuer didn't see the teen trapped under the rubble at first. But he heard her scream.
Then he saw a hand sticking out of the rocks, Chaffee County Undersheriff John Spezze told reporters Tuesday, and he started digging.
Authorities say Gracie Johnson, 13, was the only survivor of a deadly rockslide Monday that killed five members of her family - including her parents, sister and two cousins who were visiting on vacation, CNN's Kyung Lah reports.
The horrifying details of their deaths on a popular mountain trail have shaken this close-knit town of about 3,000 people.
But no one seems to be surprised by what the teen reportedly told the man who helped pull her from the rubble - that her father saved her life.
"She said her dad jumped on top of her to protect her right at the last moment when the rocks were coming down," Sheriff's Deputy Nick Tolsma - the rescuer who first spotted Gracie's hand sticking out from the rocks - told ABC's "Good Morning America" Tuesday.