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Visitors go sledding next to the Capitol building in Washington on Sunday, as a major winter storm hit the eastern United States with heavy snow.

Millions hunker down as storm hits US East

WASHINGTON/ATLANTA (China Daily/ANN) -- A dangerous winter storm slammed much of the United States’ east region with snow, ice and high winds on Sunday, causing widespread travel disruptions and power outages over the holiday weekend.
Winter weather alerts stretched more than 1,600 kilometres from Alabama to Maine, with the governors of Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina all declaring emergencies due to the storm.
In all, more than 80 million people fell under the winter weather alerts, local media reported.
More than 200,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia reported power outages, according to tracking website Power-Outage.
In North Carolina, where some regions saw record snowfalls, two people died on Sunday when they lost control of their car in Raleigh.
The highest snowfall totals were expected along the spine of the Appalachians as well as across the lower Great Lakes.
Christopher Knox, a North Carolina State Highway Patrol spokesman, said the agency had responded to 300 car crashes and nearly 800 calls for service by mid-afternoon.
Outside Kristen Baker Morrow’s home in Crouse, North Carolina, on Sunday morning, her 6-year-old son made snow angels in nearly 10 centimetres of snow. But she said they could not stay outside for long because of the uncomfortable wind chill.
“It took 30 to 45 minutes to get everything on for about 10 minutes in the snow, but it was definitely worth it for him, to get our pictures and make some memories,” said Morrow, a 35-year-old registered nurse.
In South Carolina, Abbeville resident Travis Wagler said he had not seen such a run on supplies at his hardware store before that storm in at least two winters.
“We’re selling everything you might expect: Sleds, but also salt, shovels and firewood,” Wagler said on Friday. That region faced predictions of a quarter-inch (0.6 cm) of ice or more on trees and power lines, which could lead to days without electricity.
“People are worried,” Wagler said.
The storm made its way through the Mid-Atlantic region toward New England on Sunday night, bringing snow that was expected to change to ice, sleet and eventually rain, according to the National Weather Service.
In Canada, the storm was forecast to dump between 20-40 cm of snow through Monday morning over parts of southern and eastern Ontario, the Canadian province that shares part of its border with New York state, said government weather agency Environment Canada.
The inclement weather hits just as Ontario schools were set to reopen for in-person classes on Monday after the winter break was extended because of the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Flights canceled
More than 3,000 flights within, into or out of the US were canceled on Sunday, and more than 8,000 flights were delayed, according to FlightAware data.
American Airlines saw more than 660 flight cancellations. More than 90 percent of flights into and out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina were canceled.
Toronto, home to Canada’s busiest airport, was set to see accumulations of 15 to 20 cm of snow.
This was a long weekend for most people in the US as Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp said on Sunday that people should avoid nonessential travel in areas impacted by the storm.
“If you’re able tonight and tomorrow morning, stay home and off the roads,” wrote Kemp on Twitter. “It’s going to be treacherous in a lot of parts of our state.”
The US had already seen snow chaos in early January, when a storm blanketed the Northeast. After that storm, hundreds of motorists were stuck for more than 24 hours on a major highway linking to the capital Washington.


(Latest Update January 12, 2021)


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