Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Snow, Ice and Record Cold Grip the South; at Least 10 Dead

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Snow, Ice and Record Cold Grip the South; at Least 10 Dead

Article excerpt

By Kate Brumback & Jay Reeves

Associated Press

ATLANTA | Snow, ice and a recordbreaking blast of cold closed runways, highways, schools and government offices across the South and sent cars sliding off roads Wednesday in a corner of the country illequipped to deal with wintry weather. At least 10 people died, including a baby in a car that plunged off a slippery overpass into a Louisiana canal.

Icicles hung from a statue of jazz musicians in normally balmy New Orleans, and drivers unaccustomed to ice spun their wheels across Atlanta, which was brought to a nearstandstill by little more than an inch of snow. The beach in Biloxi, Miss., got a light coating. And the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill canceled classes as the storm unloaded at least 8 inches of snow in Durham and Greensboro.

The storm turned the morning rush hour treacherous, though many people heeded warnings to stay off the roads.

Even the best drivers had trouble: Retired NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted that he had just used his winch to help pull a car out of a ditch when he drove off the road and into a tree in North Carolina.

"NC stay off the roads today/tonight. 5 minutes after helping these folks I center punched a pine tree," he reported. A spokesman said Earnhardt was not hurt.

Roads are likely to remain icy into Thursday.

"People keep asking when we will get the allclear," said Georgia Transportation Department spokeswoman Natalie Dale. "It will not happen today."

Thousands of schoolchildren and teachers got the day off. Many cities canceled meetings and court proceedings, and some businesses closed. Slippery runways and the need to deice planes forced cancellations and delays in New Orleans, Memphis, Tenn., and RaleighDurham, N.C. Electricity usage surged to record highs as people struggled to keep warm. …

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