Snow and ice forecasts as far away as southern Georgia have put much of the Southeast on emergency preparedness as shoppers scoured store shelves for storm supplies and crews scrambled to tackle highways and highways as a major winter storm in the Midwest loomed. the way.
In Virginia, where a snowstorm left thousands of motorists stuck on blocked highways earlier this month, outgoing Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and urged people to take the approaching seriously storm. In North Carolina, some store shelves were sold out of essentials such as bread and milk.
By Friday, the fast-moving storm had brought heavy snow across swathes of the Midwest, where travel conditions deteriorated and dozens of schools closed or shifted to online instruction. Iowa was the hardest hit. More than 14 inches of snow fell at Des Moines Airport, and between 9 inches and 1 foot of snow fell in large swathes of central and southern Iowa, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Small.
According to the Des Moines Chronicle, the Iowa State Patrol reported that 207 motorists were assisted in the four hours between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, and 78 incidents occurred. A crash, perhaps a foretaste of such problems in the East.
Indiana Michigan Power said in a news release that it has dispatched more than 200 employees to assist its sister company, Appalachian Power, during storm power outages, and they will perform expected shows in Virginia and West Virginia. A storm with “several inches of snow, sleet and ice, and strong gusts of wind”.
Parts of Tennessee could get as much as 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow, forecasters said, with snow possible in northern Mississippi and Alabama’s Tennessee Valley. Large areas are expected to see lows in the 20s, and any precipitation could freeze over, making driving difficult, if not dangerous.
Travis Wagler said his hardware store in Abbeville, S.C., hadn’t seen such a rush for supplies in at least two winters.
“We’re selling everything you could expect: sleds, but also salt, shovels and firewood,” Waggler said Friday at Abbeville Hardware. 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) or more of ice is expected on trees and power lines in the area, which could result in days without power.
The winter storm watch extends north of Metro Atlanta to Arkansas in the west and Pennsylvania in the north, covering parts of 10 states including Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Traffic problems could extend to the Atlanta metro area, where about 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow sent traffic into a landslide in 2014, an event still known as “Snowmaggedon.”
Atlanta is expected to have ice mixed with up to an inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow, according to an advisory issued Saturday by the National Weather Service.
At Dawsonville Hardware, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Atlanta, owner Dwight Gilleland said that by midday Friday, his heater had run out and only five bags of salt and sand were left.
“I think the pandemic has made people more anxious than usual,” he said.
Nearly 1,000 U.S. flights were canceled on Sunday due to snow and ice expected in the south, according to flightaware.com, a flight-tracking website that tracks flight cancellations around the world. A major airport hub for American Airlines — Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina — topped the list of U.S. airports for flight cancellations on Sunday.
The National Weather Service said any ice and high winds reaching 35 mph (55 kph) could exacerbate possible power outages and travel problems.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in announcing storm preparations: “Hopefully the storm will under-deliver, but it may over-deliver. We just don’t know.” When he declared a state of emergency, he took no chances , crews began tackling major roads and highways in northern Georgia.
Neighboring South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster also issued an emergency order, saying the state could begin to feel the effects of a major winter storm by Sunday morning.
“The accumulation of snow and ice can lead to a very dangerous situation that could lead to a statewide blackout,” he said.
Due to a shortage of workers due to Covid-19, the city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had to borrow workers from other departments to help with pre-storm roads, spokesman Randy Britton said. Even volunteers are reaching out to help, he said, as the city ramps up its normal schedule to prepare for winter weather.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an emergency order urging people to stay home after the storm hits. The state highway agency has warned that labor shortages mean crews may not be able to respond to problem areas as quickly as they normally would.
After the storm is expected to move into the southeast over the weekend, it is expected to move into the northeast, along with snow, sleet and rain around the densely populated east coast.
Many schools and businesses will be closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which could help reduce travel problems and temperatures that should have risen into the 40s.
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