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East coast braces for weekend threat of debilitating snow and ice

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East coast braces for weekend threat of debilitating snow and ice

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Meteorologists’ forecasts of debilitating snow and ice from New York to southern Georgia sent parts of the region into a dizzying Friday with customers scouring retailer cabinets for storm supplies and crews of street trying to prevent a repeat of the previous winter debacles.

New York City could receive a harvest of winter snow Sunday evening. Long Island is expected to receive a mix of snow, ice and rain through Monday.

AccuWeather’s forecast predicts 12 to 18 inches of snow will bottom out in parts of New York such as Buffalo and Syracuse as the winter storm heads northeast.

In Virginia, where a blizzard left thousands of motorists trapped on congested highways earlier this month, Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and urged people to take the approaching storm seriously . Some retail cabinets had been stripped of their basic necessities, including bread and milk in North Carolina.

A Georgia Department of Transportation response member appears to be in a brine truck tank being stuffed before a winter storm at the GDOT Maintenance Activities Unit site on January 14, 2022.
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Trucks ready to spray a brine suit on the roads to stop icing across the region, and Travis Wagler said he hadn’t seen such a run on supplies at his hardware store in Abbeville, South Carolina, for no less than two winters.

“We sell everything you might expect: sleds, but also salt, shovels and firewood,” said Wagler of Abbeville Hardware. There, forecasters are predicting a quarter inch (0.6 centimeters) or more of ice on bushes and energy strains, which could lead to days without power.

“People are worried,” Wagler said.

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster issued an emergency order saying the state would apparently feel the effects of the main winter storm beginning Sunday morning.

“There is the potential for very hazardous conditions caused by ice and snow accumulations, which will likely lead to power outages across the state,” he said.

The National Weather Service said 2 to 5 inches of snow could fall as far south as northeast Georgia from Saturday evening through Sunday, and power outages and travel issues could be even more severe due to an additional layer of ice and winds blowing at 35 mph. Snow accumulations can reach 8 inches at higher elevations.

The storm, after plunging to the southeast over the weekend, was so large it was expected to move northeast while bringing snow, sleet and rain to the east coast densely populated.

Forecasts indicate that New York could see a mix of snow, ice and rain over the weekend.
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In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp said the state was preparing “to the fullest” for the explosion. He declared a state of emergency Friday night, saying the main target of concern was the northern half of Georgia just over the east-west route of Interstate 20.

“Hopefully the Storm will be underdelivered, but it could be overdelivering. We just don’t know,” he said.

Parts of Tennessee could receive up to 6 inches of snow, forecasters said, and northern Mississippi and the Tennessee Valley region of Alabama could receive light snow accumulations. With lows expected in the 20s in wide open space, any precipitation can freeze over and make riding difficult.

The fast-moving storm on Friday dropped heavy snowfall across much of the Midwest, where travel conditions deteriorated and dozens of universities closed or moved to online instruction.

A winter storm watch extended from just north of the Atlanta metro area to Arkansas in the west and Pennsylvania in the north, protecting parts of 10 states including Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia. Travel issues could extend to metro Atlanta, where around 2 inches of snow brought visitors to a standstill in 2014, an event still known as “Snowmaggedon.”

At Dawsonville Hardware, about 60 miles north of Atlanta, owner Dwight Gilleland said he was already out of heat Friday noon and had only 5 bags of salt and sand left.

“I think the pandemic has made people more anxious than normal,” he said.

East coast braces for weekend threat of debilitating snow and ice

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States warned drivers of hazardous traffic conditions ahead of the winter storm.
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The city of Winston-Salem, North Carolina had to borrow staff from other departments to help manage roads ahead of the storm because COVID-19 led to staff shortages, spokesman Randy Britton said. . Even volunteers have stepped up to help the city step up its regular winter weather preparedness program, he said.

“We feel really good where we are,” he said. “We checked the boxes.”

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an emergency order and the administration urged people to stay home after the storm. The state highway company warned that labor shortages meant crews would not respond to issues as quickly as usual.

“We just don’t have as many people to drive the trucks or operate the equipment,” said Marcus Thompson, spokesman for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

Many schools and businesses could be closed on Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, which could help ease travel issues, including temperatures that one could imagine reaching the 40s.

Pam Thompson, owner of Dillard House Stables in Rabun County, northern Georgia, was near the center of the most significant snow forecast. She was gathering food and hay for about 40 horses in case the snow and ice didn’t go away quickly.

“We have snow every year here in the mountains and it will be 6 to 8 inches, and it usually goes pretty fast,” Thompson said. “What I’m seeing on the forecast is that it’s going to be very cold next week, so the snow might not go away as quickly as usual.”

East coast braces for weekend threat of debilitating snow and ice

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