South braces for a weekend of snow and ice

By Sudhin Thanawala and Jeffrey Collins | The Associated Press

ATLANTA — Weather forecasts for weakening snow and ice south of Georgia sent parts of the area on Friday with shoppers scouring store shelves for storm supplies and street workers last winter. Tried to prevent recurrence of defeat.

In Virginia, where a blizzard trapped thousands of motorists on closed highways earlier this month, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and urged people to take the oncoming storm seriously. Some store shelves in North Carolina were stripped of essentials, including bread and milk.

Trucks set out to spray a sparkling mixture on roads to prevent snowfall across the area, and Travis Wagler said he didn’t do such a run on supplies at his Abbeyville, South Carolina, hardware store for at least two winters. saw.

“We’re selling everything you might expect: sledges, but also salt, shovels and firewood,” Wagler told Abbeyville Hardware. There, forecasters predict a quarter inch (0.6 cm) of snow or more on trees and power lines, leading to days without power.

“People are worried,” Wagler said.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an emergency order saying the state would feel the effects of a major winter storm beginning Sunday morning.

“There is a possibility of a very dangerous situation due to accumulation of snow and ice, which may result in power outages across the state,” he said.

The National Weather Service said up to 2 inches (5 cm) to 5 inches (12.7 cm) of snow could fall as far southeast Georgia as Saturday evening through Sunday evening, and power outages and travel problems all but worsened. will make it worse. Coating of snow and winds up to 35 mph (56 km/h). Snow accumulations at the highest elevations can reach up to 8 inches (20 cm).

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said the state was making “maximum” preparations for the blaze. Declaring a state of emergency late Friday, he said the center of concern began north of the east-west Interstate 20 route in the northern part of Georgia.

“Hopefully, Storm will deliver less, but it may deliver more. We just don’t know,” he said.

Parts of Tennessee could receive 6 inches (15 cm) of snow, forecasters said, and the Tennessee Valley region of northern Mississippi and Alabama could receive light snow. Any precipitation could freeze and make driving difficult, with lows predicted over a wide area in the 20s.

On Friday, the high-speed storm lashed a large part of the Midwest, where travel conditions worsened and many schools closed or moved to online instruction.

A Winter Storm Watch extended from north to west of Metro Atlanta to Arkansas and north to Pennsylvania, covering parts of 10 states, including Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Travel problems may spill over into metro Atlanta, where in 2014 about 2 inches (5 cm) of snow brought traffic to a slip-sliding halt, a phenomenon still known as “Snowmageddon”.

At Dawsonville Hardware, about 60 miles (97 km) north of Atlanta, owner Dwight Gilliland said by Friday afternoon he was already out of heaters with only salt and five bags of sand left.
“I think the pandemic has made people more anxious than usual,” he said.

The city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had to borrow workers from other departments to help treat the streets before the storm as COVID-19 caused labor shortages, spokesman Randy Britton said. He said that even volunteers extended a helping hand as the city carried on with its usual program of preparing for the winter season.

“We feel really good about where we are,” he said. “We’ve checked the boxes.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an emergency order and the administration urged people to stay home after the storm. The state highway agency has warned that labor shortages mean that crews may not respond as quickly to problem areas.

“We don’t have as many people to drive the trucks or operate the equipment,” said Markus Thompson, a spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Many schools and businesses will be closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which could help ease travel problems as temperatures rise into the 40s.