Winter Storm Smacks DixieJanuary 30, 2010 - 3:30 PM | by: Brooks Blanton
A major winter storm packing a triple punch of snow, ice and even thunderstorms raged across the south Friday night. Traffic on major interstates crawled to a stop as roadways became snow covered and icy. Interstates 40 and 26 in North Carolina were closed near Asheville as a deadly combination of rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow made the mountainous highways impassable. Our crews had to stop 100 miles south of our destination in Knoxville, Tennessee as Interstate 75 became dangerous and slippery north of Atlanta.
Some parts of the south received up to a foot of snow, prompting the governors of Tennessee, Arkansas, Virginia and North Carolina to declare States of Emergency. Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry is requesting a federal disaster declaration where more than 164,000 homes are without power.
Flights from Little Rock to Raleigh were cancelled while hotels filled up with stranded travelers seeking refuge from the ice and snow. Duke Energy reported more than 14,000 customers without power in North Carolina while Memphis Light and Gas had more than 6,000 customers left in the dark after power lines snapped under the pressure of the ice.
Snowfall amounts were impressive for areas that usually don’t deal with this kind of weather. The metropolitan Nashville Area received up to 6 inches of snow while suburbs north of Memphis got almost 10 inches. Interstate 24 in Nashville had to be completely shut down yesterday afternoon after a 15 car pileup brought traffic to a complete stop in both directions.
There is good news and bad news for Southern States after the storm the storm moves up the coast into Virginia and the Washington, DC area. Many of the same cities that are blanketed in snow, fog and ice today, are expecting clear skies and sunshine tomorrow. But those clear skies mean temperatures will dip well below freezing tonight, turning wet and slushy roads into literal sheets of ice. Authorities are hoping that many people stay close to home and off rural roads that are likely to remain slick and dangerous.