Weather service: 3-6 inches of snow possible in Georgia
ATLANTA — A winter storm has brought snow and sleet to north Georgia and forecasters say up to 6 inches could fall in some areas.
The National Weather Service says 3-6 inches of snow is expected in parts of north Georgia Wednesday. A winter storm warning in effect until 10 a.m. Thursday says a mix of snow and rain is expected to reach counties in the southern metro Atlanta region.
Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency and government offices closed early as precipitation began in the metro region. The weather also prompted flight delays, school closures and the opening of emergency shelters.
Forecasters are warning of potential for black ice throughout north Georgia overnight into Thursday morning. Temperatures are expected to drop to the low 30s and high 20s overnight.
— The Associated Press
Snow fell on the Deep South on Wednesday as another storm brought nasty weather to the region, walloping places that were hit hard just last week.
Schools, day cares and offices closed ahead of the storm and governors once again declared states of emergency. The most intense part of the storm stretched from north Texas eastward to North Carolina and Virginia. Snow accumulations could be 6 to 8 inches or higher in some places.
Relief — in the form of higher temperatures — is expected Thursday.
Here's a look at how winter weather has affected some areas:
ABSENT TRANSPORTATION DIRECTOR
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says he gave advance approval for his transportation secretary to travel out of state for a book tour ahead of a deadly snow storm.
Transportation Secretary Tony Tata flew out Monday evening to Chicago to attend an event to promote his latest thriller novel. McCrory said Tata had scheduled the day off and was still available by phone to help coordinate the response effort.
Tata was back in North Carolina on Wednesday.
Tuesday's snow began to fall hours earlier than what forecasters predicted and DOT crews had not yet treated many interstates and highways with salt. Two people died in separate accidents.
Georgia delayed the execution of its only female death row inmate because of the approaching winter weather. Kelly Renee Gissendaner, 46, had been scheduled to die at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Gissendaner was convicted of murder in the February 1997 slaying of her husband. Prosecutors said she plotted with her boyfriend in the killing.
The execution has been rescheduled for Monday.
SLEET FALLS ON ALABAMA
About 55 miles northeast of Birmingham in Etowah County, Josie Hicks fretted about the safety of her 3-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.
Hicks said the pipes already were frozen at the family's apartment in Attalla, and she was worried the power could go out. So with sleet already bouncing off car hoods outside, Nicks made a quick trip to Wal-Mart for milk, bread and other food that didn't have to be cooked, and 1-gallon jugs of water.
"I wouldn't mind having some snow for the babies to play in but I don't want them to be freezing," said Hicks. "I'm worried about my babies being warm."
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal said he was very confident in the state's preparations.
Following a January 2014 ice storm that crippled metro Atlanta, Deal convened a task force to make recommendations of how to better prepare. He said Wednesday that state agencies have ably handled three weather situations in the last 10 days.
"I believe the lesson we are learning even of this morning as we noted the smaller volume of traffic on the interstates is that the public is willing to be a participating partner," he said.
ARE YOU DELIVERING?
The manager of a sandwich shop in Shreveport, Louisiana, says it's been delivering more food this week because of the bad weather.
"The first question asked when you answer the phone is 'Are you delivering?'" according to Alli Walsh, who manages a Jimmy John's in Shreveport.
Walsh said she has up to six delivery workers who are running multiple orders at a time. Shreveport could get up to 3 inches of snow.
Near Bangor, Maine, 75 vehicles got tangled up in a series of chain-reaction pileups on a snowy stretch of Interstate 95, injuring at least 17 people.
The crashes started stacking up about 7:30 a.m. and involved several cars, a school bus and a tractor-trailer. At least 50 vehicles had to be towed from the scene, and state police said it was the largest crash in more than 15 years.
SPEAK BRIEFLY, WEATHER IS COMING
Georgia lawmakers are working on a shortened schedule Wednesday at the Capitol in Atlanta. House Speaker David Ralston urged long-winded members to "disincline yourself" ahead of the ice or snow that was forecast to reach north Georgia by mid-afternoon.
"The key word is going to be 'with dispatch,'" Ralston said, referring to legislators speaking quickly and effectively.