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Eastern U.S. sees nasty weather on busy weekend before Christmas

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A major storm moving up the Atlantic Coast on the last shopping weekend before Christmas threatened to shut down much of the region as officials warned of up to 20 inches of snow and significant power outages.

The storm came from the Gulf and drenched South Florida with rain starting late Thursday, leaving flooded homes and stranded drivers.

As it moved up the Atlantic seaboard Friday, the National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings from the Carolinas to Rhode Island.

In Virginia, Gov. Tim Kaine declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm, placing the National Guard and other agencies on standby.

Philadelphia officials also declared a state of emergency and the school district canceled all weekend activities.

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley urged motorists to stay home if possible.

Some shoppers were trying to get their holiday buying done before the snow hit.

The Federal Aviation Administration said departing flights at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport were delayed by as much as an hour Friday because of rain and wind. United Airlines canceled dozens of flights ahead of today's weather.

Eastern U.S. sees nasty weather on busy weekend before Christmas 12/18/09 [Last modified: Friday, December 18, 2009 10:53pm]
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