This time, Atlanta was prepared. A thick sheen of ice left the city's highways mostly empty Wednesday, unlike the scene two weeks ago when some people were trapped overnight in their cars. Not so in North Carolina, where motorists hit the highways Wednesday despite Gov. Pat McCrory's warning to stay at home. "Don't put your stupid hat on," he said. Ice and wind snapped tree limbs and power lines, robbing hundreds of thousands of electric power in Georgia and the Carolinas. The weather also forced postponement of the basketball game between rivals Duke and North Carolina. Today, the storm is expected to clobber the Northeast.
Gridlock and darkness
Sections of five interstate highways were gridlocked, and motorists abandoned their cars in the Raleigh, N.C., area. More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost electricity in Georgia. South Carolina had about 245,000 outages, and North Carolina around 100,000. As he did for parts of Georgia, President Barack Obama declared a disaster in South Carolina, opening the way for federal aid. Across the South, at least 11 deaths were blamed on the weather.
Nearly 3,300 airline flights nationwide were canceled. At Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport near Atlanta, about 1,600 flights were canceled, and all incoming flights were being held at their destinations Wednesday night, according to flightaware.com. Tampa International Airport had about 50 flights canceled Wednesday. Another 100 or so flights were delayed, the website reported.
Northeast gets more snow today
The storm pushed northward along the Interstate 95 corridor, threatening to bring at least a half-foot of snow today to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Washington, D.C., could see around 8 inches, and federal offices in the area will be closed. New York City could receive 6 inches. Mark Wiley of the National Weather Service said the culprit is unusually warm weather in Alaska and Canada that has pushed arctic air into the eastern and southern U.S.
Sochi's high today? Feels like Tampa Bay
The weather system swept thunderstorms through the Tampa Bay area Wednesday afternoon. The storm dumped 1.05 inches of rain in Tampa and 1.12 inches at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport, according to Bay News 9. The storm caused more severe problems in Polk County, where at least 17 mobile homes were damaged. Three homes had structural damage. No injuries were reported. Afternoon highs in the low 60s are expected today. Lows tonight will plunge into the 40s around Tampa Bay, according to Bay News 9.