Power outages, flight cancellations, thundersnow: Brutal snow, ice storm slams South

The entire Eastern USA was under a weather siege Sunday as a furious winter storm packing heavy snow, ice, gale-force winds and tornadoes rolled out of the Midwest and continued its unforgiving march across the nation.

The impact of the storm varied greatly from neighborhood to neighborhood. Jackson, Mississippi, saw trace amounts of snow early Sunday while 25 miles to the northeast, the hamlet of Goshen Springs was blasted by more than 8 inches.

Southern cities were on alert. Nashville could get 3 inches of snow, other parts of Tennessee a foot. A tractor-trailer crash near the Tennessee River closed I-40 eastbound in Humphreys County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reported a backup stretching several miles. 

The streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, were covered early Sunday, and the National Weather Service called for snow accumulations of 2 to 7 inches in parts of the state.

“Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice,” the weather service warned. “Travel could be nearly impossible.”

Thundersnow was reported near Waynesville, North Carolina. Accuweather said a strike of lightning was detected during heavy snowfall. Thundersnow is unusual but can happen in strong snowstorms, Accuweather said. Some of the state was blanketed in a foot of snow. Col. Freddy Johnson, commander of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, said that by late morning, the agency had responded to 200 car crashes and 460 calls for service.

Elsewhere, 1 to 4 inches of sleet, snow and ice was forecast for the Atlanta area as well as other parts of Georgia and South Carolina.

“Hopefully, the storm will underdeliver, but it could overdeliver. We just don’t know,” said Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, who declared a state of emergency.

In southwestern Florida, rolling tornado warnings were issued. A truck driver suffered minor injuries when a tornado crossed Interstate 75 near Naples and toppled his truck, the Florida Highway Patrol said on Twitter.

“Please seek shelter and stay safe!!” the tweet urged.

The storm, dubbed a “Saskatchewan screamer” because it originated in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, left more than a foot of snow in Des Moines, Iowa, over the weekend. The Ozarks town of Canaan in Arkansas saw a foot of snow.

The storm headed into the Northeast, dropping snow, sleet and rain around the densely populated Eastern Seaboard. Washington was forecast to see up to 3 inches of snow followed by a round of ice. Parts of the metro area already saw more snow in one week this month than in the past two years.

Parts of Western Pennsylvania could get a foot of snow, forecasters said. Officials across New England warned residents to stay indoors Saturday as a blast of Arctic air drives wind chill temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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