Snow Sweeps Country, North to South
Dec. 19— Snow and cold are sweeping most of the nation today, with flakes
piling up and causing trouble from Georgia to Minnesota.
Temperatures in northern Georgia were forecast to
peak in the 20s today, with lows near 10 degrees — and wind chills as low
as zero. The snowfall was the region’s second in three days.
The snow is heading north, ABCNEWS weatherman
Tony Perkins said today. Areas from the Carolinas up to New England should
expect two to five inches of snow. And as the wintry flakes taper off in
the South, they’ll get even worse up north Wednesday, with further accumulations
expected, he said.
“It seems we’re setting up for a pretty active
winter, as opposed to the last couple of winters which have been relatively
mild, at least for the east,” Perkins said.
Along Interstate 75 near Atlanta, roads are
slick and slushy under two inches of snow, with drivers being told to take
it easy on their morning commutes. Tasha Munez, a resident of Cobb County
near Atlanta, said she’s trying to look on the bright side and get into
the holiday spirit.
“I think it’s beautiful, I hope it snows all
week,” she said.
But most Georgia drivers aren’t used to the
snowy conditions, and officials are concerned that temperatures will drop
further and the snow will turn to ice.
Delta Airlines canceled about 60 percent of
its departures from its Atlanta hub through 10 a.m. today, spokeswoman
Cindi Kurczewski said, but they expect to run a more normal schedule this
“The biggest advice we can probably offer
people is to ensure that we have a good phone number on file so that we
can reach them” in case of cancellations, she said.
More cold and snow were also forecast today in neighboring Tennessee,
where at least 28 of the state’s 95 counties closed schools Monday. Several
schools announced that they planned to stay closed today.
In Alabama, freezing rain, snow and a second
day of cold closed dozens of schools Monday and sent homeless to shelters
across the state. The state was still recovering from weekend tornadoes
that killed 12 people.
Power crews in eastern Texas are calling this
the worst ice storm they’ve ever seen. The storm has left the town of Longview,
Texas, virtually incapacitated for the past week. James Shore, a Longview
resident, said he’s been living without water since last Tuesday.
“About the third day it was pretty bad. ...
I had to go use someone else’s shower and shave, and so infringed on some
friends,” he said.
In Nebraska, schools and businesses came to
a halt as the state was hit by its fourth storm in a week. The drifting
snow is expected to pick up again tonight, but it let up just long enough
for emergency road clearing on the state’s highways.
“We still have areas of zero visibility due
to blowing snow,” said Monica Spanke, a dispatcher with the Nebraska State
Patrol. “The road surface is partly covered, icy in areas, especially over
passes and bridges.”
Elsewhere in the country’s midsection, Arkansas
Gov. Mike Huckabee declared disaster areas in 41 counties nearly a week
after what state officials said was the worst ice storm in state history.
Some 40,000 homes were still without power Monday.
“I’ve just been quilting by the light of the
window during the day and go to bed when it gets dark,” said Kitty Watson,
73, whose home has been without electricity since last week. “And my goodness,
I must’ve gained 10 pounds in the past week ‘cause you know, you bake when
in the Great Lakes
The Great Lakes are used to snow, but this is getting ridiculous. Forecasters
are predicting accumulations up to 17 inches on a second straight snowy
day in Wisconsin, with roads that have become sheets of ice and several
weather-related accidents, at least one involving a snow plow.
“It’s the worst snow storm we’ve ever had
in December and the most snow that we’ve ever had, too,” said Veronica
Platt, who works at the Days Inn in Madison, Wisc. “Right now, most of
the roads outside in front of our hotel are completely stopped and all
the traffic is completely stopped.”
Nearly a quarter of the flights at Mitchell
International Airport in Milwaukee were canceled or delayed Monday and
more than 100 Northwest flights were delayed in and out of Minneapolis-St.
United canceled 72 of its 414 scheduled departures
from O’Hare in Chicago. American Airlines canceled about 45 departures
and arrivals, said spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan. O’Hare isn’t out of
the storm yet — the Great Lakes will see a few more inches of snow today,
Dislike it Hot
Southern California is enjoying temperatures in the 80s, but it has
problems of its own: high, dry winds that parch residents and create prime
conditions for wildfires.
“I had to quit wearing contacts because my
eyes were too dry in this kind of weather,” said Vicky Andrews of Porter
Ranch, Calif. “And I teach school, and the kids are crazy in this kind
The wind is irking more than just Andrews’
students. An arsonist torched a car in the Los Padres National Forest,
35 miles northwest of Los Angeles early Monday morning, setting off a blaze
that burned nearly 500 acres.
The wildfire, and others that broke out Monday,
caused no injuries or property damage. The region’s dry, hot conditions
were expected to persist for several days.
The warm weather was welcome news to Christine
Lloyd, an Australian working at a restaurant in Malibu, Calif.
“I was out in the back yard, hosing off the
pool chairs, in just shorts and T-shirt, having a great time,” she said.
“Me being a Sydney girl, it’s 80 degrees, it looks like a real Christmas
ABCNEWS' Wendi Grossman in Atlanta, John Bynum in Milwaukee and the
Associated Press contributed to this story.