Georgia’s governor declared a state of emergency for 45 counties and Atlanta canceled classes for tomorrow and the next day as a winter storm neared, less than two weeks after a system stranded thousands of people in cars, buses and schools.
The region may get 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 centimeters) of snow and ice over the next three days as the storm moves from Texas to the Atlantic Ocean, according to the U.S. National Weather Service. Sleet and snow will begin falling late today or early tomorrow, the agency said.
“There is the potential for a major ice storm from northern Georgia to central and upstate South Carolina to central North Carolina Tuesday night and Wednesday,” Mark Mancuso, senior meteorologist for AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania, said on the company’s website.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal extended an emergency declaration today from 14 counties in the northern part of the state to 45. Public schools will close in Atlanta and Marietta and in DeKalb, Cobb and Fulton counties, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
Winter storm alerts extend from Texas to North Carolina, covering parts of nine states, the weather service said.
Late last month, 2.5 inches of snow in Atlanta stranded almost 25,000 students at their schools or in buses and shut down the region’s highways, trapping thousands of motorists. There were 1,254 accidents, 134 people injured and at least one death caused by the storm.
Temperatures fell below freezing all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring the Deep South got a coating of snow and ice, said Steve Wistar, another AccuWeather meteorologist. This time around, those frigid readings won’t extend so far into the region, he said.
The worst of the snow and ice will probably be across Arkansas and Tennessee, Wistar said. Wichita, Kansas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma, may get some snow as well, he said.
After the storm passes across the South, there is a chance it will gather strength off the coast of North Carolina and then head north up the East Coast, the weather service said.
“We have to figure out whether it goes up the coast or farther out to sea and spares places like Pennsylvania, where some people still don’t have power,” Wistar said.
Two storms struck the U.S Northeast last week, leaving snow and ice across the region and knocking out power to as many as 800,000 homes and businesses from Ohio to New York, with most of those in the Philadelphia area. It also contributed to the cancellation of 6,500 flights across the U.S. and halted passenger rail service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for two days.