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Winter Ice Storm Cripples South as Thousands Lose Power
In the Deep South on Wednesday, there were at least 300,000 customers without power as a winter storm hit Atlanta with dangerous ice.
The winter storm that dumped ice on Atlanta is moving Northeast towards the Carolinas. Georgia has more than 119,000 without power and reports that Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi are affected in the power outage also.
“Everything is going as well as can be managed, but we are going to manage this hour by hour,” Gov. Nikki R. Haley of South Carolina said at a news conference at her state’s emergency operations center. According to a report written for the National Weather Service, an Atlanta area forecaster said the storm was “catastrophic…crippling…paralyzing…chose your adjective, this is a very, very big deal, especially from metro Atlanta east along the I-20 corridor.”
Atlanta’s airport has canceled more than 2,200 flights. According to Reese McCranie, a spokesman for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, the flight cancellations is the largest number in recent memory. Amtrak also has a number of cancellation due to the weather.
This heavy storm could dump about 8 inches of snow on Charlotte, N.C. The National Weather Service issued a statewide civil emergency message. More ice is expected to fall on the greater Atlanta metropolitan region threatening more power outages.
President Obama has declared a state of emergency for Georgia. South Carolina has also asked the White House for assistance. Late Tuesday night eight states declared states of emergency expecting the storm to bruise Virginia, Maryland and much of the Northeast.
“We’re getting a lot of freezing rain throughout the entire state right now,” Derrec Becker, a spokesman for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, said in a telephone interview on Wednesday. “It’s pretty bad, and it’s really accumulating on roads and pavement that’s already been treated.” He added, “The big issue for us is the sheer amount that falls and accumulates on the ground in a short amount of time.”
The weather is to blame for six deaths. Four people in North Texas and two in Mississippi died in traffic accidents due to high winds and a mix of sleet and freezing rain icing the roads. In preparation for the possibility of power failures in Atlanta, local and out-state power crews are assembled at a staging areas around the state.
Many have been preparing for the storm by stocking up on groceries and ice-melting materials. Stores say the demand keeping groceries on the shelves was a challenge. The roads are icy and travel in the area is difficult to get supplies. “We usually stock only at night, but we have been stocking day and night,” Sylvia Bishop, the customer service manager at Kroger said. “It’s like a home football game or something.”
Image credit: lucidlimos.comWinter Ice Storm Cripples South as Thousands Lose Power by Jaan