Winter storm: ‘Heavy icing’ and dangerous travel conditions hit the southeast as thousands lose power in the freezing cold

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Winter weather warnings on Sunday stretch 1,400 miles from Mississippi to Maine — covering up to 80 million people, CNN meteorologists said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued an ice storm warning for parts of South Carolina from Sunday through early Monday, with temperatures likely to stay below freezing through early next week.

More than 278,000 people are without power as of 2 p.m. ET, according to PowerOutage.US. Top areas per outage include:
  • North Carolina 90,351
  • South Carolina 88,930
  • Georgia 56,928
  • Florida 32,161
  • Tennessee 7,487
  • Alabama 3,103

“North Carolina is now feeling the effects of a winter storm that will continue to move across the state today,” Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday.

“Up to eight to 12 inches of snow fell in some counties, and heavy icing is causing issues in the central part of the state,” Cooper said. “Conditions vary across North Carolina and are dangerous in many areas.”

At least 25 counties in North Carolina have declared states of emergency, and Cooper said some counties are ready to open shelters to house those without power or heat.

Road conditions are “treacherous” across North Carolina, Transportation Secretary Eric Boyette said. At least 200 collisions have been reported and crews are working ’round the clock’ to clear the roads, he said.

The NWS warned that ice accumulations would become very dangerous along and east of I-85, including Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Salisbury, North Carolina. This includes the entire Charlotte metro area.

Charlotte could have up to a foot of snow in the foothills and up to a half-inch of ice, forecasters said. Raleigh should get up to 2 inches of snow and maybe a quarter inch of ice.

Bookmark this site to see if snow is forecast for your area
In Virginia, a multi-vehicle crash on Interstate 81 near Roanoke County that blocked all lanes and resulted in a minor injury, according to a tweet of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Freezing roads in northern Georgia have led to perilous conditions, the National Weather Service in Atlanta said.

“We are receiving reports of numerous accidents in northern GA from the ATL metro east,” the agency said in a statement. Posting on Twitter. Please, please take it easy. The roads are starting to freeze as very cold air continues to creep in.”
Snowfall rates could exceed one inch per hour from northeast Georgia to western Carolinas and far eastern Tennessee, the Storm Prediction Center said. Heavy snowfall is also possible in western Virginia.

The mid-Atlantic and the northeast are under fire

Forecasters say the storm will move up the mid-Atlantic and northeast regions on Sunday and Monday.

“The highest snow totals are expected along the Appalachian spine as well as the lower Great Lakes,” the National Weather Service said Sunday.
Snow covered Memphis, Tennessee, Sunday morning.
From the mid-Atlantic to New England, “precipitation is expected to begin as snow before changing to ice/sleet and possibly rain as it approaches the center of the storm,” the NWS said.

Some snow will fall in major metropolitan areas, but a change in rain will curb accumulations. Washington might get 2-4 inches, while Philadelphia might get 1-2 inches. New York and Boston are expected to get about an inch each.

But more snow is expected elsewhere.

“As is common with this storm track, the Shenandoah Valley toward the Alleghenies will likely be the winner in terms of the highest snowfall totals,” NWS Baltimore said Saturday.
25 ways to stay warm this winter without breaking the bank

“7 to 10 inches is possible, but longer than a foot is not out of the question where heavier bands form.”

Snowfall intensity in the region may be severe enough to prevent significant icing, but NWS Baltimore warned that untreated surfaces could still lead to hazardous travel conditions where ice builds up.

The majority of accumulated snowfall will occur from Sunday afternoon to Monday morning.

Interior cities such as Charleston, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse and Burlington, Vermont will see the heaviest snow.

Coastal flooding also expected

Along with the potential for snowfall, strong easterly winds associated with the storm system could cause significant coastal flooding up to 3 feet above ground in some areas along the northeast coast at high tide. .

Parts of New York, Long Island and parts of Connecticut are under coastal flood warnings, forecasters said.

The timing of the winds shifting from east to south will largely determine the severity of flooding, with moderate flooding potential if the winds shift before high tide.

“Widespread moderate to locally severe flooding of vulnerable areas is possible near the waterfront and shoreline, including roads, parking lots, parks, lawns, and homes and businesses with basements near the waterfront. “, said the NWS in New York on Saturday.

Flooding could lead to road closures and structural damage along the Atlantic coast.

CNN’s Joe Sutton, Allison Chinchar, Chad Myers, Dave Hennen, Monica Garrett, Haley Brink and Claudia Dominguez contributed to this report.

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