President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in Georgia on Tuesday as the state awaited what the National Weather Service called a potentially "crippling" ice and snow storm "of historical proportions."
The roads in Atlanta, usually clogged with traffic, were unusually quiet as students and workers stayed home to await a storm that could potentially knock out power in some areas for days.
"Do not wait to begin making plans for this significant weather event!!" the National Weather Service said in an online alert, which warned of more than 7 inches of snow in northeast Georgia and more than half an inch of ice in the eastern part of the state.
The storm was expected to extend as far west as Texas before moving up the Eastern Seaboard today. In North Texas, at least four people died in traffic accidents on icy roads, police said.
Georgia state officials began preparing for the storm Monday, still stung by allegations that they mishandled a snowstorm two weeks ago that gridlocked the Atlanta area with just 1 to 3 inches of snow and left some drivers trapped in their cars for more than 24 hours.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, in a Tuesday statement, said he had asked the federal government for emergency generators in anticipation of power outages and also expanded an earlier emergency declaration to now cover 88 of Georgia's 159 counties.