Ice storm causes deaths, power outages, and traffic jams in the South

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Ice storm causes deaths, power outages, and traffic jams in the South
Original shared on FB RT @beerandracing: Hwy 70 near RDU airport, few miles from home, taken today during snowstorm http://t.co/dRGQDgruwr
Again, this was saved on @wral Facebook page which seems to prove original Glenwood Ave photo is indeed real. http://t.co/4DjJI11d2U
Picture from my brother. Way to go Raleigh http://t.co/7lrWQ69PKC
Lamarr Lewis scrapes ice from his car window during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Doraville, Ga. (AP Photo/John Amis)
A Highway Patrol officer checks on the well being of a stranded motorist on Hammond Road during a winter storm Wednesday Feb. 12, 2014, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/The News & Observer, Travis Long)
NOAA satellite image of storm moving up the East Coast on February 12, 2014.
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 12: Icicles form on street signs after freezing precipitation fell in Atlanta overnight on Wednesday, February 12, 2014. Drivers were encouraged to stay off of the roads as a state of emergency was declared in 45 Georgia counties. (Photo by Davis Turner/Getty Images)
Ice forms on a banner as a lone parked automobile drives through the empty streets of Historic Norcross Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Norcross, Ga. Across the South, residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. (Photo/Jason Getz)
A firefighter looks on as a jack-knifed truck is pulled on the roadway on Interstate 75 Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Marietta, Ga. From Texas to the South's business hub in Atlanta, roads were slick with ice, more than 350,000 homes and businesses lost electricity, and a wintry mix fell in many areas. More than 20,000 customers were reported without power across the state of Georgia. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
Drivers navigate U.S. Hwy 25 in southern Greenville County, as snow falls Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 , near Greenville, S.C. A second winter storm in two weeks pummeled South Carolina, cutting power to tens of thousands and prompting Gov. Nikki Haley to ask President Barack Obama to declare the state a federal disaster area. (AP Photo/ Richard Shiro)
School bus driver Derese Burnette waits for assistance after his bus got stuck along Seawell School Rd. in Chapel Hill, NC, during a snow storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. A second winter storm in two weeks pummeled South Carolina on Wednesday, cutting power to tens of thousands and prompting Gov. Nikki Haley to ask President Barack Obama to declare the state a federal disaster area. (AP Photo/Ted Richardson)
#CSRAStorm #AugustaGA #IceStorm2014 http://t.co/dmxndmWfwN
Palmetto trees and snow and sleet in South Carolina, posted on Twitter by Rich Owensby.
A truck plows a road in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, as a winter storm moves into the area. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A truck plows a road in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, as a winter storm moves into the area. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
A Georgia DOT sign warns drivers of winter weather as they travel a bleak section of Hwy. 141 on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Norcross, Ga. The scene is the opposite of what drivers experienced two weeks ago when every major artery of metropolitan Atlanta was clogged during the last winter storm. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Snow plows clear downtown lanes on Interstate 75/85 during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
A pedestrian walks across downtown's North Avenue during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
A motorist drives through freezing rain and sleet on downtown's Spring Street during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Shmetrice Moore, a nurse at an Emory hospital, scrapes snow and ice off her windshield as she and others are released early from their shift before a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Johns Creek, Ga. From Texas to the Carolinas and the South's business hub in Atlanta, roads were slick with ice, tens of thousands were without power, and a wintry mix fell in many areas. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Snow plows clear Interstate 75/85 on the downtown connector while transportation and business grinds to a halt during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Sparse traffic makes its way on the Interstate 75/85 connector just south of downtown Atlanta, Wednesday morning, Feb. 12, 2014. A combination of sleet, snow and freezing rain was expected to coat power lines and tree branches with more than an inch of ice between Atlanta and Augusta. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ben Gray)
Pedestrians help each other carry groceries on a downtown street as Georgians awake to freezing rain, sleet and snow during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Slushy sidewalks made even short walking trips treacherous. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Ice freezes on an Interstate 75/85 overpass as freezing rain, sleet and snow brings transportation and commerce to a halt during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in downtown Atlanta. City roads and interstates were largely desolate, showing few vehicle tracks as most people heeded warnings to stay home. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
In this photo taken with a fisheye lens, a lone motorist drives through a slick intersection during the morning commute on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. From Texas to the Carolinas and the South's business hub in Atlanta, roads were slick with ice, tens of thousands were without power, and a wintry mix fell in many areas. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Ice hangs from a school crossing sign on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. From Texas to the Carolinas and the South's business hub in Atlanta, roads were slick with ice, tens of thousands were without power, and a wintry mix fell in many areas. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Two Alabama DOT employees work to free up a sand truck from highway 176 around Little River Canyon, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, near Fort Payne, Ala. A winter storm dropped from 1 inch to 3 inches of wintry precipitation across a wide area, turning trees and roads white and forcing hundreds of schools, businesses and government offices to close or open late. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
Tim Fields, with Keenum Excavation, clears the road with a grader along Hwy 31 on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Vinemont, Ala. Fields was contracted by the state to help clear roads after a winter storm dropped several inches of snow on North Alabama overnight and more is expected. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
A car travels on Blacks Dr. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Greenville, S.C. Snow and icy conditions were expected to continue through Wednesday. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
A car travels on Stevens Rd. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Greenville, S.C. Snow and icy conditions were expected to continue through Wednesday. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Snow and ice build up on the street signs for Snow and McDaniel Streets on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Greer, S.C. Snow and icy conditions were expected to continue in the state through Wednesday. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
A White County Department of Transportation truck plows snow that begins to accumulate on highway 75 north Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, just north of Helen, Ga. In a dire warning Tuesday, forecasters said a "catastrophic" winter storm threatened to bring a thick layer of ice to Georgia and other parts of the South, causing widespread power outages that could leave people in the dark for days. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton)
Traffic backs up on southbound I-75 on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 from the Boynton Drive overpass, in Ringgold, Ga. Traffic was backed up for over four miles. Forecasters say a potentially "catastrophic" winter storm threatens to bring a thick layer of ice to Georgia. (AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, C.B.Schmelter)
State highway 31 is closed to traffic due to icy road conditions Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Vinemont, Ala. Some vehicles bypassed the closure before highway could be plowed. A winter storm dropped several inches of snow on North Alabama overnight and more is expected. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 11: In this handout satellite image provided by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a winter storm front moves through the Southern states on February 11, 2014 in the United States. In addition to heavy snow for some locations, there is a potential for dangerous ice accumulations of 1/4 to 3/4 of an inch across the Carolinas and northern Georgia by midweek. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)
Vehicles travel slowly on Interstate 65 as several inches of snow cover the area on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Vinemont, Ala. A winter storm dropped several inches of snow on North Alabama overnight and more is expected. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Early morning commuters navigate icy roads in Decatur, Ala., after snow fell overnight Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/The Decatur Daily, John Godbey
Adrianne Lynn DeBruhl, of Cullman, rolls up a snow ball to put on her snowman on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Cullman, Ala. A winter storm dropped several inches of snow on North Alabama overnight and more is expected. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Alex DeBruhl, left, and his sister Adrianne Lynn DeBruhl, of Cullman, make a snowman on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Cullman, Ala. A winter storm dropped several inches of snow on North Alabama overnight and more is expected. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
John Szeto walks along Blacks Drive on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Greenville, S.C. Residents woke to snow that was expected to continue throughout the morning hours. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)
Snow accumulates on a pickup truck as Ryan Warmack, center, walks toward a truck stop trying to locate tire chains during a winter snow storm in Emerson, Ga., about 40 miles north of metro Atlanta, on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. The Atlanta area dodged the first punch of a dangerous winter storm Tuesday, but forecasters warned of a "catastrophic" second blow in the form of a thick layer of ice that threatened to bring widespread power outages and leaving people in their cold, dark homes for days. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Barrow County residents make a snowman as a winter snow storm that the National Weather Service predicted to be "an event of historical proportions" blows into Euharlee, Ga., about 40 miles north of metro Atlanta, on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014. (AP Photo/David Tulis)
Vehicles slowly make their way on a snow-covered Alabama state Route 35, on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Fort Payne, Ala. Residents woke to a blanket of snow that was expected to continue throughout the morning hours. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
A van kicks up snow and ice as it travels on I-65 North on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014, in Cullman, Ala. A winter storm dropped several inches of snow and ice in North Alabama overnight and more is expected. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 11: A travel advisory sign along I-85 South warns drivers of hazardous driving conditions as a winter storm approaches on February 11, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. A winter storm warning has been issued for the area through Thursday, and storms Tuesday night could result in ice accumulation of up to half an inch. Widespread power outages are expected around Atlanta. (Photo by Davis Turner/Getty Images)
State agencies prepare for the approaching winter weather at the Georgia Emergency Management Agency State Operations Center on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, in Atlanta. During the meeting Dale Brantley, with the GDOT, said "one of the big issues we are dealing with right now is salt supply." Orders were apparently placed last week, but all of them have not been received yet. Brantley said they expected orders to be delivered throughout the night and into tomorrow. (AP Photo/ Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Curtis Compton)
Ryann and Terri Camacho walk down Alabama highway 176 after checking on a neighbors cows Tuesday Feb. 11, 2014, in Dog Town, Ala. as the area is being blanketed with an unusual amount of snow. A winter storm dropped from 1 inch to 3 inches of wintry precipitation across a wide area, turning trees and roads white and forcing hundreds of schools, businesses and government offices to close or open late. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
A truck slowly travels on a snow covered Alabama highway 176 Tuesday Feb. 11, 2014 in Dog Town, Ala. A winter storm dropped from 1 inch to 3 inches of wintry precipitation across a wide area, turning trees and roads white and forcing hundreds of schools, businesses and government offices to close or open late. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
Firefighter Robbie Hairell scrapes snow off of his car Tuesday Feb. 11, 2014 in Dog Town, Ala. A winter storm dropped from 1 inch to 3 inches of wintry precipitation across a wide area, turning trees and roads white and forcing hundreds of schools, businesses and government offices to close or open late. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
A horse stands in a snow covered field Tuesday Feb. 11, 2014 in Dog Town, Ala. Residents in much of north Alabama woke to heavy snowfall that was expected to continue throughout the morning. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
Ryann and Terri Camacho walk down Alabama highway 176 after checking on a neighbors cows Tuesday Feb. 11, 2014 in Dog Town, Ala. as the area is being blanketed with an unusual amount of snow. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)
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ATLANTA (AP) -- Small armies of utility workers labored to turn the lights - and the heat - back on for hundreds of thousands of Southerners as a winter storm that left them without power threatened major cities further up the East Coast.

The Deep South remained a world of ice-laden trees and driveways early Thursday after several unusual days of sleet and snow brought by a powerful system that could bring more than a foot of snow to such metropolises as Philadelphia, Washington and Boston.

At least 12 deaths across the South have been blamed on the stormy weather and nearly 3,300 flights nationwide were canceled with another day of complicated air and road travel ahead Thursday, particularly in the Northeast.

Drivers in and around Raleigh, N.C., became snarled Wednesday in huge traffic jams and abandoned cars in scenes reminiscent of motorist woes in Atlanta during a storm two weeks earlier. In Atlanta, many streets were eerily quiet this storm, with drivers heeding dire warnings to stay off the roads. State troopers say they worked more than 200 crashes in Georgia.

Winter Storm Jams N.C. Traffic, Cuts Power In Ga.

For some on slick, snow-covered interstates in North Carolina, commutes that should take minutes lasted hours after many got on the highways just as soon as snow and sleet began at midday.

And in South Carolina, more accustomed to occasional hurricanes, some could only relate the damage from ice-snapped tree limbs to that of bygone Hurricane Hugo. Even normally balmy Myrtle Beach, where millions of visitors cavort each summer, cars were coated in thick ice that also frosted palm trees and kiddie rides by the shore.

"I hate driving on this," grumbled South Carolina resident Mindy Taylor, 43, on her way for rock salt, kitty litter or anything else to melt the ice. "Hopefully it'll warm up by the weekend and it will all melt. I'm ready for Spring."

In Alabama, forecasters gleefully spoke of weekend temperatures reaching the 60s after inches of snow or sleet in its northern parts.

The snow, sleet and freezing rain that iced Southern highways also knocked out electricity to more than half a million homes and business as it advanced Thursday up the Interstate 95 corridor to the winter-weary Mid-Atlantic states.

Some Southerners who two weeks ago reveled in the so-called "snow jam" sounded tired this time of sleet and ice encasing highways, trees and even the tombstones of a cemetery replete with Confederate graves.

Bethany Lanier, 32, was walking in a mostly empty square in the Atlanta suburb of Decatur with Lindsay Futterman, a 30-year-old charter school teacher as they debated whether to get a drink at a pub.

If classes are canceled Friday, the charter school students will have missed nine days of school. To make up days, administrators have canceled a three-day break.

"Now, we're out because we have cabin fever," Lanier said as Futterman added: "It's kind of annoying now."

Many Southerners took to makeshift sleds on the ice and snow, with at least seven people hospitalized in sledding accidents just in Georgia. Four people were hurt sledding in a kayak that crashed into a pole, said Fire Chief Ricky Pruit in Cleveland, Ga. One victim suffered leg injuries, another was knocked unconscious and lost several teeth and the other two refused treatment, he said.

Ice combined with wind gusts up to 30 mph snapped tree limbs and power lines. More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost electricity in Georgia, South Carolina had about 245,000 outages, and North Carolina around 100,000. Some people could be in the dark for days.

As he did for parts of Georgia, President Barack Obama declared a disaster in South Carolina, opening the way for federal aid.

For the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, the heavy weather was the latest in an unending drumbeat of storms that have depleted cities' salt supplies and caused school systems to run out of snow days.

Washington, D.C., could see around 8 inches of snow, as could Boston. New York City could receive 6 inches. The Philadelphia area could get a foot or more, and Portland, Maine, may see 8 or 9 inches.

In Atlanta, which was caught badly unprepared by the last storm, area schools announced even before the first drop of sleet fell that they would be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. Schools were also closed for Thursday. Many businesses in the corporate capital of the South shut down, too.

The scene was markedly different from the one Jan. 28, when thousands of children were stranded all night in schools by less than 3 inches of snow and countless drivers abandoned their cars after getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours and hours.

"I think some folks would even say they were a little trigger-happy to go ahead and cancel schools (Tuesday), as well as do all the preparation they did," said Matt Altmix, who was out walking his dog in Atlanta on Wednesday. "But it's justified."

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory urged people to charge their cellphones and find batteries for radios and flashlights because the storm could bring nearly a foot of snow in places such as Charlotte.

"Stay smart. Don't put your stupid hat on at this point in time. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your neighbors," McCrory said.

In a warning issued early Wednesday, the National Weather Service called the storm across the South "catastrophic ... crippling ... paralyzing ... choose your adjective."

Meteorologist Eli Jacks noted that three-quarters of an inch of ice would be catastrophic anywhere.

However, the South is particularly vulnerable: Many trees are allowed to hang over power lines for the simple reason that people don't normally have to worry about ice and snow snapping off limbs.

Three people were killed when an ambulance careened off an icy West Texas road and caught fire. On Tuesday, four people died in weather-related traffic accidents in North Texas, including a Dallas firefighter who was knocked from an I-20 ramp and fell 50 feet. In Mississippi, two traffic deaths were reported as well as in North Carolina.

Also, a Georgia man apparently died of hypothermia after spending hours outside during the storm, a coroner said.

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Associated Press writers Christina A. Cassidy, Ray Henry, Phillip Lucas, Jeff Martin and Peter Prengaman in Atlanta; Martha Waggoner, Michael Biesecker and Emery P. Dalesio in Raleigh, N.C.; Bruce Smith in Charleston, S.C.; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala.; and Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga., contributed to this report.

© 2014 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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