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Powerful winter storm hits 100 million Americans

A powerful winter storm with more than 100 million Americans in its path is expected to shut down large parts of the south and mid-Atlantic on Sunday and Monday.

The mountainous Appalachians will likely experience the worst of the storm, with snow totals reaching 18 inches, but the impact could be widespread and severe as far south as Atlanta, where snow is rare and roads are notoriously difficult to clean.

Snow is also expected in parts of North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia due to the strong weather system pouring in from Canada known as a “Saskatchewan screamer.”

“A strong developing storm over the Lower Mississippi Valley will move east to southeast Sunday morning and northeast to the northern Mid-Atlantic by Monday,” the National Weather Service said in a flash bulletin.

“The combination of snow and ice can create dangerous driving conditions on roads,” the agency warned.

A powerful winter storm with more than 100 million Americans in its path is expected to hit large parts of the south and mid-Atlantic from Sunday to Monday.

A powerful winter storm with more than 100 million Americans in its path is expected to hit large parts of the south and mid-Atlantic from Sunday to Monday.

A half-clothed semi is stranded on the shoulder of Interstate 80 near Mitchellville, Iowa, on Saturday after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow over central Iowa.  The storm is expected to storm the south and mid-Atlantic

A half-clothed semi is stranded on the shoulder of Interstate 80 near Mitchellville, Iowa, on Saturday after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow over central Iowa.  The storm is expected to storm the south and mid-Atlantic

A half-clothed semi is stranded on the shoulder of Interstate 80 near Mitchellville, Iowa, on Saturday after a winter storm dumped several inches of snow over central Iowa. The storm is expected to storm the south and mid-Atlantic

Des Moines residents shovel snow from their driveways after winter storm hit in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

Des Moines residents shovel snow from their driveways after winter storm hit in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

Des Moines residents shovel snow from their driveways after winter storm hit in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

“The storm will move quickly to the northeast, with the heaviest snow lasting only about six hours and most snowfall lasting about 12 hours,” he said. AccuWeather Senior meteorologist Bill Deger.

However, he noted that the intense snowfall will make up for its brevity.

In Virginia, where thousands of motorists were trapped on blocked highways by a snowstorm earlier this month, outgoing Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and urged people to take the approaching storm seriously.

In North Carolina, some store shelves were stripped of essentials, including bread and milk.

By Friday, the fast-moving storm had already dropped heavy snowfall over much of the Midwest, where travel conditions deteriorated and many schools were closed or switched to online education.

Iowa was hit hardest. Brad Small, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the airport in Des Moines saw more than 14 inches of snow and much of central and southern Iowa recorded between 9 inches and a foot of snow.

In perhaps a preview of the sort of trouble in the east, the Iowa State Patrol had reported 207 motorists assisted and 78 accidents occurred in the four hours between 5 and 9 p.m. Friday, according to the Des Moines Register.

An Iowa state patrol vehicle was hit by a semi on Friday while assisting in another crash.  The lieutenant in question suffered only minor injuries and was being examined at a local hospital, the agency said

An Iowa state patrol vehicle was hit by a semi on Friday while assisting in another crash.  The lieutenant in question suffered only minor injuries and was being examined at a local hospital, the agency said

An Iowa state patrol vehicle was hit by a semi on Friday while assisting in another crash. The lieutenant in question suffered only minor injuries and was being examined at a local hospital, the agency said

Storm system follows jet stream south, then returns to mid-Atlantic, forecasters say

Storm system follows jet stream south, then returns to mid-Atlantic, forecasters say

Storm system follows jet stream south, then returns to mid-Atlantic, forecasters say

A map shows the predicted arrival times of snowfall in several states on Sunday and Monday

A map shows the predicted arrival times of snowfall in several states on Sunday and Monday

A map shows the predicted arrival times of snowfall in several states on Sunday and Monday

Some areas will see mostly snow (blue), while others will see a wintry mix of snow, ice and rain (magenta)

Some areas will see mostly snow (blue), while others will see a wintry mix of snow, ice and rain (magenta)

Some areas will see mostly snow (blue), while others will see a wintry mix of snow, ice and rain (magenta)

And in Chicago, where a mayor once lost a re-election bid because, in part, because the city failed to respond adequately to a massive snowstorm while he was in office, the streets and sanitation department were equipping more equipment on Saturday morning. than 200 trucks with snowplow blades to keep the streets passable during and after the expected storm.

Parts of Tennessee could get up to 6 inches of snow, forecasters said, and northern Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley region of Alabama could see light snowdrifts. With lows predicted in the 1920s across a wide area, precipitation could freeze, making driving difficult or even dangerous.

Travis Wagler said he hadn’t seen such a stockpile of supplies in at least two winters at his hardware store in Abbeville, South Carolina.

“We sell everything you’d expect: sleds, as well as salt, shovels and firewood,” Wagler said Friday of Abbeville Hardware. That region faced forecasts of a quarter inch of ice or more on trees and power lines, which could lead to days without electricity.

A winter storm watch stretched from just north of metro Atlanta to Arkansas in the west and Pennsylvania in the north, covering parts of 10 states, including Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

Travel problems could extend to metro Atlanta, where about 2 inches of snow brought traffic to a halt in 2014, an event still known as “Snowmaggedon.”

A mixture of ice and up to an inch of snow is expected in Atlanta on Saturday, according to a recommendation from the National Weather Service.

A semi-truck was involved in a crash in Iowa on Friday, where conditions could predict major disruptions in the south

A semi-truck was involved in a crash in Iowa on Friday, where conditions could predict major disruptions in the south

A semi-truck was involved in a crash in Iowa on Friday, where conditions could predict major disruptions in the south

Des Moines' Joe Davenport throws his disc during a snowy round of disc golf at Grandview Park in Des Moines on Saturday.  More than a foot of snow was dumped on parts of central Iowa during an overnight blizzard

Des Moines' Joe Davenport throws his disc during a snowy round of disc golf at Grandview Park in Des Moines on Saturday.  More than a foot of snow was dumped on parts of central Iowa during an overnight blizzard

Des Moines’ Joe Davenport throws his disc during a snowy round of disc golf at Grandview Park in Des Moines on Saturday. More than a foot of snow was dumped on parts of central Iowa during an overnight blizzard

A Des Moines resident clears downtown sidewalks after winter storm Izzy in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

A Des Moines resident clears downtown sidewalks after winter storm Izzy in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

A Des Moines resident clears downtown sidewalks after winter storm Izzy in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

At Dawsonville Hardware, about 95 miles north of Atlanta, owner Dwight Gilleland said he had no heating by noon Friday and only had five bags of salt and sand left.

“I think the pandemic has made people more anxious than usual,” he said.

Nearly 1,000 flights within the U.S. have already been canceled for Sunday in anticipation of snow and ice in the south, according to flight-tracking site flightaware.com, which tracks canceled flights worldwide. A major US airport hub for American Airlines – Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina – tops the list of cancellations for Sunday at US airports.

Potential power outages and travel problems could be exacerbated by a layer of ice and wind gusts up to 55 mph (55 kph), according to the National Weather Service.

“Hopefully the storm will deliver below par, but it can deliver more. We just don’t know,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said as he announced storm preparations. He took no chances when he declared a state of emergency and the crew began covering major roads and highways in Northern Georgia.

Des Moines residents clear snow Saturday after a winter storm in Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines residents clear snow Saturday after a winter storm in Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines residents clear snow Saturday after a winter storm in Des Moines, Iowa

After a major storm, a Des Moines resident removes snow in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

After a major storm, a Des Moines resident removes snow in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

After a major storm, a Des Moines resident removes snow in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday

Governor Henry McMaster of neighboring South Carolina also issued an emergency order, saying the state would likely begin to feel the effects of Sunday morning’s major winter storm.

“There is a potential for very dangerous conditions caused by ice and snow build-up, which will likely lead to power outages across the state,” he said.

The city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had to borrow workers from other departments to help treat roads before the storm because COVID-19 had created a labor shortage, spokesman Randy Britton said. Even volunteers helped out as the city ramped up its regular schedule of winter weather preparation, he said.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed a distress warrant and the government urged people to stay home once the storm hits. The state highway manager warned that staff shortages meant crews may not respond to problem areas as quickly as normal.

The storm, after its expected weekend dip in the southeast, would then move northeast as snow, sleet and rain fall around the densely populated east coast.

Many schools and businesses will be closed Monday due to Martin Luther King Jr.’s vacation, which could help ease travel hassles, along with temperatures reaching into the 1940s.

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