South Braces for Major Winter Storm

ATLANTA — Forecasts of snow and ice as far south as Georgia have put a giant a part of the Southeast on an emergency preparedness footing as consumers scoured retailer cabinets for storm provides and crews raced to deal with highways and roads as a significant winter storm approached from the Midwest.

In Virginia, the place a blizzard left hundreds of motorists trapped on clogged highways earlier this month, outgoing Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and urged individuals to take the approaching storm significantly.

In North Carolina, some retailer cabinets have been stripped naked of necessities together with bread and milk.
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Elsewhere, vehicles started spraying a briny combination on lots of of miles of interstates and different roads to forestall icing throughout the area.

Travis Wagler stated he hadn’t seen such a run on provides at his Abbeville, South Carolina, ironmongery store in a minimum of two winters.

“We’re promoting all the things you may anticipate: sleds, but additionally salt, shovels and firewood,” Wagler stated from Abbeville {Hardware} on Friday. That area confronted predictions of a quarter-inch (0.6 centimeters) of ice or extra on bushes and energy strains, which might result in days with out electrical energy.

“Persons are fearful,” Wagler stated.

Components of Tennessee might get as a lot as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow, forecasters stated, and northern Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley area of Alabama might obtain gentle snow accumulations. With lows predicted within the 20s throughout a large space, any precipitation might freeze, making driving troublesome if not hazardous.

By Friday, the fast-moving storm had already dropped heavy snow throughout a big swath of the Midwest, the place journey situations deteriorated and scores of faculties closed or moved to on-line instruction.

The storm, after its anticipated weekend dip into the Southeast, was then anticipated to go into the Northeast whereas dropping snow, sleet and rain across the densely populated Japanese Seaboard.

A winter storm watch prolonged from simply north of metro Atlanta to Arkansas within the west and Pennsylvania within the north, protecting components of 10 states together with Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Journey issues might prolong into metro Atlanta, the place about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow introduced visitors to a slip-sliding halt in 2014, an occasion nonetheless referred to as “Snowmaggedon.”

A mix of ice and as much as an inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow is anticipated in Atlanta, in keeping with an advisory issued Saturday by the Nationwide Climate Service.

At Dawsonville {Hardware} about 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Atlanta, proprietor Dwight Gilleland stated he was already out of heaters by midday Friday and solely had 5 baggage of salt and sand left.

“I feel the pandemic has made individuals extra anxious than regular,” he stated.

Practically 1,000 flights inside the U.S. have already been cancelled for Sunday in anticipation of snow and ice within the South, in keeping with the flight monitoring website, which tracks flight cancellations worldwide. A serious U.S. airport hub for American Airways – Charlotte Douglas Worldwide Airport in North Carolina – leads the record of cancellations for Sunday at U.S. airports.

Attainable energy outages and journey issues could possibly be exacerbated by any coating of ice — and winds gusting to 35 mph (55 kph), the Nationwide Climate Service stated.

“Hopefully, the storm will underdeliver, however it might overdeliver. We simply don’t know,” stated Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp as he introduced storm preparations. He was taking no probabilities as he declared a state of emergency and crews started treating main roads and highways in north Georgia.

Gov. Henry McMaster in neighboring South Carolina additionally issued an emergency order, saying the state would possible begin feeling the results of the main winter storm Sunday morning.

“There’s a potential for very harmful situations attributable to accumulations of ice and snow, which is able to possible end in energy outages throughout the state,” he stated.

The town of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, needed to borrow staff from different departments to assist deal with roads forward of the storm as a result of COVID-19 had prompted a scarcity of staff, spokesman Randy Britton stated. Even volunteers pitched in to assist as the town stepped up its regular schedule of getting ready for winter climate, he stated.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an emergency order and the administration urged individuals to remain at residence as soon as the storm hits. The state freeway company warned that labor shortages meant crews may not reply to issues areas as rapidly as regular.

“We simply don’t have as many individuals to drive the vehicles or function the gear,” stated spokesman Marcus Thompson on the North Carolina Division of Transportation.

Many faculties and companies will probably be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. vacation, which might assist cut back journey issues together with temperatures which can be alleged to rise into the 40s.


Collins reported from Columbia, South Carolina. AP writers Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama; Sarah Brumfield in Richmond, Virginia; Tom Foreman Jr. in Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Jeff Martin in Woodstock, Georgia; Gary Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia, contributed to this report.


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