Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ice storm hits Atlanta, threatens 'long periods in the cold'

Alastair Jamieson in NBC News: Atlanta was braced for its worst ice storm in 14 years early Wednesday as a winter weather system threatened power outages across the South followed by heavy snow in the Northeast.

More than 70,000 customers were already without power in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama and the Carolinas by 6.30 a.m. ET, while emergency planners urged drivers throughout the entire state of Georgia to stay off “deceptively dangerous” roads.

FlightAware reported 2,576 cancellations, most of them at the busy hub airports of Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson and Charlotte-Douglas International. “Be prepared for power outages, long periods in the cold/dark,” The Weather Channel tweeted as the the first freezing rain fell in what was forecast to be a 36-hour deep freeze.

Almost one third of the U.S. population, 93 million people, lives in areas that were under some form of winter weather advisory Wednesday. A third of those — 32 million — were under winter storm warnings, meaning the only question isn't whether they'll get hammered Wednesday, but how badly.

Freezing rain was accumulating in Atlanta by 7 a.m. ET, but with most drivers staying home the highways remained mostly empty. The National Weather Service warned of a potentially "catastrophic event," urging Georgians to "be prepared to be without power in some locations for days and perhaps as long as a week."...

A generic snowstorm, shot by Alex Proimos, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license 

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