JACKSON, Miss. – A blast of winter weather pushed across the South on Sunday, coating bridges and roads with snow, sleet and freezing rain and causing hundreds of flight cancellations.

The governors of Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia issued emergency declarations. Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said workers had readied snow and salt trucks to help clear icy roads, and he asked all residents to stay home Sunday night and today unless necessary.

Mississippi officials warned motorists early Sunday that ice was already accumulating on roads and bridges in many counties, creating hazardous driving conditions.

The National Weather Service posted winter storm warnings from east Texas to the Carolinas.

Daniel Lamb, a meteorologist with the weather service in Jackson, Miss., said heavy snow had fallen Sunday afternoon from Arkansas to north Mississippi. Other areas of the South saw freezing rain and sleet.

Forecasters expected the most extreme conditions in Mississippi and northern Louisiana overnight with the possibility of heavy ice accumulation in places.

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“And since it’s going to be pretty cold over the next few days, we could see whatever accumulates sticking around for a few days,” Lamb said.

Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas were expecting icy weather overnight.

The anticipated storm forced Georgia officials to move today’s inauguration of Gov. Nathan Deal from the state Capitol steps inside to the shelter of the House chamber. The inaugural gala was scrapped to keep supporters off treacherous roads.

 


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