Snow, ice blowing through the south with strong winter storm

ATLANTA (AP) – A dangerous winter storm that combines strong winds and ice swept through parts of the southeastern United States on Sunday, knocking out currents, felling trees and fences and covering roads with a treacherously cool glaze.

Tens of thousands of customers were without power in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. More than an inch of snow fell per hour in some parts of the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.

The storm made air travel extremely difficult in some parts of the south. The nation’s hardest hit airport – Charlotte Douglas International – remained open around dawn Sunday, the airport said in a weather briefing. But more than 1,000 Sunday flights in Charlotte have been canceled – more than 80% of the airport’s Sunday schedule, according to flight tracking service flightaware.com. Charlotte is an important hub south of American Airlines.

In Atlanta, where Delta Air Lines operates its main hub, more than 300 Sunday flights have been canceled.

A snow plow clears Main Street in Greenville, South Carolina, Sunday.
A snow plow clears Main Street in Greenville, South Carolina, Sunday.

Sean Rayford via Getty Images

Conditions were expected to continue to worsen later Sunday and possible ground stoppages were possible at airports in the Washington, DC area, the Federal Aviation Administration said in its flight control plan to Sunday.

Parts of North Carolina were under warning of winter storms until Monday morning. Raleigh experienced a mix of frozen rainfall.

Frank Pereira, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said he expected a “significant ice storm across parts of central Carolina,” including Charlotte’s metropolitan area.

In the Asheville area, local TV footage showed snow accumulation covering the streets with white. Buncombe County closed all parks, libraries and solid waste facilities until Monday. In Boone to the northeast, Appalachian State University suspended many operations on Sunday, asking everyone except certain major workers to stay off campus until at least Monday morning.

At the beginning of Sunday, more than 100,000 customers were without power in Georgia, but the vast majority of them were northeast of the Atlanta metro area in the northeastern Georgia mountains, according to power outage.US, which tracks interruptions nationwide. Rabun County, in the northeast corner of Georgia, was hardest hit with more than half of the customers there without power. About 50,000 customers were without power in South Carolina; and 11,000 customers in North Carolina had no power.

More than an inch of snow fell per hour in some parts of the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center.  A snow plow has been seen in Greenville, South Carolina.
More than an inch of snow fell per hour in some parts of the Carolinas, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia, according to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center. A snow plow has been seen in Greenville, South Carolina.

Sean Rayford via Getty Images

Crews pre-treated roads in Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia, but officials still urged people to stay away from them unless travel was necessary. The Tennessee Highway Patrol said in a tweet that some roads in East Tennessee were snow-covered and that soldiers were working on several accidents due to ice.

In Greenville, South Carolina, a snowfall covered beyond the usual roads before turning to ice. A large part of the state was under warning of winter storms, with winds as high as 40 mph (64 km / h).

The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado hit southwest Florida, with local media reporting some damage of unknown severity. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that a major tornado crossed Interstate 75 near Naples, causing a semi-truck to overturn. Minor injuries were reported. Florida Power and Light reported that about 16,000 customers in southwest Florida were without power.

Lee County firefighters told WINK-TV that 20 homes were destroyed at Tropicana Mobile Home Resort and one person was injured.

After buzzing to the south, weather forecasts say the Northeast can expect similar conditions.

While New York City was expected to be spared most, if not all, of the snowfall from the winter storm, coastal areas on Long Island and Connecticut expected high winds and gales, and upstate New York was expected to be hit with up to a foot of snow to walk along with strong winds. The National Weather Service predicts winds of up to 60 mph across Long Island and widespread coastal flooding there and in Connecticut Monday morning. In upstate New York, single-digit temperatures were expected to rise to the 20s, bringing heavy snow from Sunday night and lasting until Monday night.

Six to 12 inches of snow were expected in parts of eastern and central Ohio and western Pennsylvania from Sunday afternoon, resulting in slippery and dangerous road conditions. In parts of eastern Pennsylvania, forecasters expected three to five inches of snow early shifting to a winter mix including sleet and freezing rain or full rain.

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