TRUCKS and motor graders clear a road of snow in Clemmons, North Carolina, on Sunday.—AP
TRUCKS and motor graders clear a road of snow in Clemmons, North Carolina, on Sunday.—AP

ATLANTA: A dangerous winter storm combining high winds and ice swept through parts of the US southeast on Sunday, knocking out power, felling trees and fences and coating roads with a treacherous, frigid glaze.

Tens of thousands of customers were without power in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Highway patrols reported hundreds of vehicle accidents, and a tornado ripped through a trailer park in Florida. More than 1,200 Sunday flights at Charlotte Douglas International were cancelled.

Winter Storm Izzy dumped as much as 10 inches of snow in some areas of western North Carolina as the system moved across the southeastern US, said Brian Hurley, a meteorologist with the Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

First Sgt. Christopher Knox, a North Carolina Highway Patrol spokesperson, said that by mid-afternoon, the agency had responded to 300 car crashes and nearly 800 calls for service. Two people died on Sunday when their car drove off the road and into trees in a median east of Raleigh.

The driver and passenger, both 41-year-old South Carolina residents, were pronounced dead at the scene of the single-vehicle crash. Knox said investigators believe the car was driving too fast for the conditions, described as mixed winter precipitation.

Durham police tweeted a photo of a tractor-trailer that slid off the N.C. Highway 147 overpass in Durham. The truck’s cab appeared to have landed upright on Highway 15-501 below, while the trailer came down in a vertical position from the bridge to the highway below.

Police spokesperson Kammie Michael said the driver was stable with injuries that did not appear life-threatening.

Kristen Baker Morrows’ 6-year-old son made snow angels after their home in Crouse, North Carolina, got four inches of snow on Sunday morning, but she said they could not stay outside 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 nurse.

Outages, which had ballooned to a quarter-million customers earlier in the day, stood at around 130,000 customers by late Sunday, according to poweroutage.us.

North Carolina was hardest hit, peaking at some 90,000 outages. Parts of Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Kentucky also lost power.

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado with 118 mph winds (190 kph) struck southwest Florida. The weather service said the tornado was on the ground for almost three kilometres with a maximum path width of 115 metres.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2022

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