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Snow pounds parts of East Coast, spares several big cities

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NewsHubThe West Coast is bracing for another wave of snow, ice and rain this weekend. It could bring the worst flooding in decades. John Blackstone has…
Police investigated several fatal crashes as potentially storm-related, but some of the South’s biggest cities – Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh – appeared to avoid the worst of the storm. Authorities praised residents for learning the lessons of past storms that resulted in icy gridlock, where thousands of people were stranded along the interstates. But officials warned that bitter cold would keep roads treacherous well after the snow and sleet stopped.
“If I tell you anything it would be stay home,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. “Do not go out and drive on the roads unless you absolutely have to.”
Cooper was supposed to have been sworn in Saturday at an outdoor ceremony attended by thousands. He instead rushed through a 20-minute indoor oath-taking Friday.
“Consider yourselves the chosen few,” Cooper jokingly told family, friends and well-wishers able to attend his swearing-in Friday.
A pedestrian walks through the snow during a winter storm in Medford, Massachusetts, Jan. 7, 2017.
On Saturday he said there were at least 260 traffic accidents between midnight and 6 a.m. as the winter storm blew in. Authorities say they haven’t confirmed any weather-related deaths. Cooper said that even after precipitation is expected to stop later in the day, bitter cold will blow in and refreeze any melted slush on roads.
A National Weather Service map showed the snowfall seemed to follow the Interstate 85 corridor through the state, with locations along and north of the highway receiving snow, and areas to the south getting rain and sleet.
Burlington and Roxboro in central North Carolina received 8 inches or more of snow. Preliminary figures from the National Weather Service in Greer, South Carolina, showed snowfall totals reached up to 10 inches in at least seven locations, including Greensboro and High Point, Lewisville in Forsyth County, and Lenoir and Rhodhiss in Caldwell County.
Power outages had grown to about 25,000 in North Carolina alone, according to a news release from the governor. Nearly half were in the Charlotte area and adjacent Union County, according to Duke Power.
Roads were also treacherous. The South Carolina Highway Patrol said there was significant snow on roads in the northern part of the state and asked drivers to stay home.
Several inches also fell in southeast Virginia, where a blizzard warning was issued for the cities along the coast. Virginia State Police said they responded to 325 crashes and 322 disabled vehicles across the state between midnight and noon on Saturday. The National Weather Service had already measured nearly 6 inches of snow at its post in Wakefield on Saturday.
Even with snow coating Virginia Beach roads, diners and staff made it to the popular breakfast spot Citrus.
“When there’s bad weather, people come out,” manager Tara Junke said. “I’ve worked in restaurants for 20 years in Hampton Roads and we’ve never shut down for snow.”
In Tennessee, hundreds of crashes were reported starting Friday. From Atlanta to airports farther north, hundreds of flights were canceled.
At least one fatality – a man whose pickup truck went off a snow-slickened Kentucky road Thursday – has been blamed on the weather. Motorist deaths in North Carolina and Maryland as the storm blew in were being investigated to see if they were caused by the weather.
In Atlanta and parts of Georgia, people who were expecting a couple of inches of snow instead woke up to a thin coat of ice. The National Weather Service said a wind chill advisory for northern Georgia was to go into effect later Saturday into Sunday. Residents should brace for bitterly cold air and strong wind.
Traffic was barely crawling across parts of central Mississippi on Saturday morning, with 18-wheel trucks pulled over on the shoulders of icy highways in spots. Jackson’s city streets were supposed to be filled with runners Saturday, but organizers canceled the annual Mississippi Blues Marathon, citing weather and travel conditions.
Drivers struggled to make it up hills in some places, including an off-ramp from an interstate leading to two of Jackson’s largest hospitals. The Mississippi Department of Transportation advised people to stay off roads, saying Friday night that it was focusing on getting stranded motorists to safety. Hours of sleet coated parts of the state Friday.
It was unclear when conditions would improve, as temperatures were supposed to remain below freezing until midday Sunday in Jackson.
The conditions affected air travel across several states.
In Virginia, most flights were canceled at Norfolk’s airport because of the winter storm, the latest disruption to hit airports in the region. The website for Norfolk International Airport showed that every arriving flight was canceled for Saturday, as well as most departing flights.
In North Carolina, Raleigh’s airport said there were many cancellations and it expected very few flights to arrive or depart on Saturday. Charlotte’s airport also said its operations were limited. It advised travelers to check their carrier for cancellations.
Atlanta’s airport said that some flights have been canceled but that regular takeoffs and landings were resuming.
In the Northeast, officials at Boston’s Logan International Airport urged travelers to check with their airlines and numerous flights were canceled or delayed.
A crash involving as many as 20 vehicles closed a section of a Connecticut highway as heavy snow fell in southern New England.
The pileup on Interstate 91 in Middletown occurred Saturday afternoon and involved at least three tractor-trailers. No serious injuries were reported.
Up to 8 inches of snow were expected in parts of Connecticut, but areas along the southeastern Massachusetts coast could get 1 to 2 feet before the storm moves away later Saturday.

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