Heavy snow cuts power, snarls travel across U.S. South

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 26, 2015 12:09 PM

By Marti Maguire

RALEIGH, N.C. (Reuters) - Residents across the U.S. South were digging out on Thursday from the latest winter wallop, which dumped more than a half-foot of snow and knocked out power for hundreds of thousands in a region accustomed to milder cold-weather conditions.

About 176,000 customers were without electricity in North Carolina after a "wet, sloppy snow" snapped tree limbs and shorted power line fuses, said Duke Energy spokesman Tom Williams.

Hundreds of schools were closed in the Southeast and Deep South, and officials warned of dangerous driving conditions in areas with heavy snowfall.

A county coroner said a 22-year-old student at the University of Mississippi was killed in a sledding accident on Wednesday in Oxford, the state's third weather-related death this week.

Most of the 1,000 U.S. flights canceled on Thursday affected travelers at airports in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina, and Atlanta, according to the tracking website FlightAware.com.

Areas in north Georgia received up to nine inches of snow on Wednesday and Thursday, resulting in numerous car crashes but no deaths, said Crystal Paulk-Buchanan, spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

"Luckily, this was not an icing event, it was a snow event," she said.

Farther south in metro Atlanta, many schools were closed as a precaution Thursday but much of the city was spared major snow. The storm prompted state officials to delay the execution of Georgia's only female death row inmate until Monday.

(Additional reporting by David Beasley in Atlanta and Therese Apel in Jackson, Mississippi; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Bernadette Baum)