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Southerners warned of icy mess in days ahead

Rare Winter Storm Threatens South With Ice And Snow

ATLANTA (AP) - A blast of freezing precipitation expected to arrive Tuesday could scatter snow and ice across the Deep South, prompting officials from New Orleans to North Carolina to ready road crews and close some schools.

Popular warm-weather tourist destinations including Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga., Pensacola, Fla., and New Orleans were expecting ice and even snow - both rare occurrences in places that seldom even see prolonged sub-freezing temperatures.

In coastal Charleston, for instance, it was a balmy 62 degrees Monday. But the approaching weather led the College of Charleston to cancel classes Tuesday as a "precautionary measure." There was a forecast of rain, and sleet in the late afternoon, with the first snow expected Wednesday morning.

Much of Georgia was placed under a winter storm watch for Tuesday and Wednesday. While some areas could see as much as 3 inches of snow, the bigger concern with plummeting temperatures was ice.

"The snowfall amounts are going to matter very little in this situation because of the ice potential," said Jason Deese, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga. "Some parts of the state may end up seeing the greatest impact just because they get more ice than snow."

Delta Air Lines officials say more than 1,800 flights have been canceled ahead of a winter storm expected to pelt areas of the Southeast with sleet and snow. Delta spokeswoman Betsy Talton says 1,850 flights have been canceled system-wide Tuesday beginning at 11 a.m. Of that number, Talton says 840 flights from Atlanta have been affected.

The airline is offering travelers the opportunity to make one-time changes to their tickets without a fee if they're traveling through Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, the Carolinas and Texas. Delta officials expected service to be affected between Jan. 28 and 29, and replacement tickets must be reissued by Feb. 1.

Forecasters were predicting snow and ice from Texas to the Carolinas by mid-week as precipitation moving in from the south met with cold air already chilling the region.

In the Carolinas, many school districts were running on half-day schedules Tuesday so students could head home before the worst of the storm system hit. In North Carolina's Outer Banks, barrier islands that are popular with tourists during the warm seasons, residents were bracing for as much as 8 inches of snow.

Several inches also were expected in South Carolina, where the state department of transportation planned to send crews out Tuesday to treat roads with sand and brine to ease any troubles caused by ice.

Elsewhere, some schools and government offices already closed in Mississippi ahead of the rare snow event.

"This is a very dangerous situation because snow and ice are very rare for extreme southern Mississippi," Robert Latham, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, said in a news release. "We need everyone to have an emergency plan together for this."

In Louisiana, state Public Service Commission Chairman Eric Skrmetta told residents to be prepared by stocking up with food, fueling cars and making sure to have cash on hand, calling the icy forecast for the next couple of days "decidedly grim."

Donna Vidrine, a cashier at Simcoe Food World in Lafayette, said her store was already busy Monday.

"They're buying things like canned goods - nonperishable items - and bottles of water and diapers for their baby," she said.

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racetrked January 28 2014 at 8:18 PM

PANIC PANIC, why are you frightening all those folks. just stay home a couple days. it will be gone, media is a fart

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krickethicks January 28 2014 at 7:46 PM

I know snow can be treacherous but af the same time beautiful as it falls and when you ski down a fabulous mountain like Colorado or Utah. They were the days.............

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maizenblue January 28 2014 at 7:37 PM

What the heck happened in Atlanta today? We were warned days ago that this stuff was coming and we still have the MAJOR INTERSTATES IMPASSIBLE. What were they doing all night last night and early this morning? School districts didn't close their schools (some) and now buses are stranded....even at this hour. All we heard the last few days from the GDOT was how prepared they were with all the new equipment they purchased. Can someone from up north please come down here and show these folks how to get these roads cleared?

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David S. January 28 2014 at 7:43 PM

LOL. Places like Atlanta typically don't have the equipment to deal with this kind of mess......but you are correct. They should have at least closed the schools...

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steelarc10 January 28 2014 at 6:55 PM

Global Warming............my snow shovel is melting from all of this hot snow and ice. Perhaps the idiots that believe the planet is heating up will try some common sense science. It has long been known by scientist that know and understand how the science really works know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas but the atmosphere does not operate like a greenhouse. These idiots with their computer models could not predict tomorrows sun rise, much less the outcome of higher CO2 levels. There is a simple observation that anyone can make.....air at ground level heats up. At a given temperature bubbles of air break loose and rise to higher elevation. This bubble of air expands at the lower pressure and expansion means cooling and with the cooling you see clouds form and thunderstorms and rain and even ice in the upper cloud tops. All of this produces wind and air movement to the cold poler regions. Air circulation equals climate. Note that even the birds recognize the atmospheric conditions and they ride the thermals rather than flap their wings. Warmist idiots could contribute to CO2 reduction by holding their breath while they walk to work.

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thothsellshomes January 28 2014 at 6:51 PM

What "Holiday" is she talking about ... Chinese New Year? I guess that is why they call it "Newsy" ... because they just sort of get it about half right and/or they just make stuff up when it sounds good ... snow storm ... so must be a holiday.

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mortwiw January 28 2014 at 4:36 PM

I'm a native of Indiana (first 24 years of my life) and lived in Colorado the next 25 years (well north of the halfway line in each state). Medical factors then lead to my moving to central Mississippi for the past 6 years.

Anyone from the north commenting after this article saying it’s silly to make such a big deal about the snow in the south is being unfair, uninformed (and some seem a bit arrogant). States of the south do not often get snow of any amount, especially which is also combined with sustained freezing temperatures to preserve it. Also, a high percentage of the time when the normally warm air mass is pushed out by the cold air the precipitation is at the leading edge of the system's front so it changes from freezing rain to sleet and then finally to snow which then accumulates on the iced over roads and sidewalks. Every northerner knows this is a nightmare situation for traveling by vehicle and foot.

Since snow and ice are so seldom a problem the state and city road departments of the south can not justify having large amounts of equipment and supplies that are specialized for snow and ice invested in and kept on hand. Consequently the amount of roadways that can get attention at any one time for winter weather is small and highly prioritized. The seemingly "blanket" attention that highway crews can give in the north are an impossibility here. Yes, the amount of snow and ice is comparatively small but the overall impact on road conditions ends up being larger (I do still find it humorous as I hear the news give the large amount of precaution for the small amount of snow but I've learned and fully understand the true reality of the situation).

It’s all a matter of realities of perspectives. While those north of the Ohio River are getting a chuckle over the south dealing with this type of weather, when truth be known and the matter is scrutinized even further the folks of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota find it funny in how those in Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio react to snow amounts and temperatures deemed severe that they only consider moderate up there.

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mlp7595 January 28 2014 at 3:30 PM

The global warming hoaxers are really having trouble these days. I mean one of, if not the, coldest winter on record, artic ice cap growing by 30%, snow in the south and overall global cooling...Amazingly, these frauds are still making the case. Of course, there is a lot at stake for them, research grants, free lunch, and their socialist idealogy. No doubt, they will continue to make things up until they switch to a global cooling hoax.

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brokenpony225 January 28 2014 at 3:17 PM

Central Alabama 2" of snow and coming down heavy. We were told we would only get a 'dusting'.

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David S. January 28 2014 at 7:43 PM

It happens....

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BoniLu January 28 2014 at 3:15 PM

GEEEEZZZ, why argue over the weather, and who has it worse or better? If you like living North and able to tolerated 6 + months of gloomy skies, snow, ice, and very cold temps, followed by rain, rain, and more rain in the spring, hot and humid sticky temps. with nasty nats flying up your nose in the summer, and maybe one month of colorful trees, and if-y , questionable & unpredictable weather in the fall, then MORE power to ya! and yes, you do get tornados and gusts of wind that blow trees and telephone poles and wires down. If you like the South, or (South Carolina) where I moved to 8 years ago from Ohio, with mild short winters, and intermitant no jacket 65 to 70 degree days, beautiful spring weather that comes with little rain, awesome blooms of azalea bushes , everywhere, fowers,, and near perfect temps. that last through June, followed by 2 months of very hot temps, but an ocean to cool off in, than I do NOT blame you for staying in the South! Hurricanes are a reality...yes, but we can prepare for them, and we do. Many hurricane warnings turn out to be a mild tropical storm that equals no more than some violent storms I've witnessed when I lived in Ohio. I'd need to have a very good reason to move back north!
The only thing I do somewhat miss is the short but showy colorful trees in the fall, and I can drive a few miles to North Carolina to see that!

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BILL CREEL January 28 2014 at 3:12 PM

Reminds me of the old BC cartoon, where they said, "This kind of weather didn't happen, before they invented Bows and Arrows."

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