Cold weather, winter storm kill 10 across Southern U.S.

By Susan McFarland  |  Jan. 18, 2018 at 9:17 AM
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Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Cold weather and other effects of a winter storm that hit the southern United States this week have killed at least 10 people.

Officials have blamed the storm for seven deaths, but three people also died in cold weather after snow and ice blanketed the South.

The weather brought icy roadways, school closings, flight cancellations and power outages for thousands.

Two people died in a car crash in Bibb County, Ga., on Wednesday that shut down Interstate 75. In Cabell County, W. Va., one person died in a crash on Interstate 64. Crashes killed four people in Louisiana, including a baby who died after the car plummeted into a canal in Metairie. The mother was critically injured.

Cold-weather exposure is to blame for the deaths of two people in Houston, Texas, and one in Memphis, Tenn.

Flight disruptions were piling up late Wednesday as almost 1,700 arrivals and departures were cancelled or delayed at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Ga., with hundreds of other delays and cancellations reported at airports in New Orleans, La., Houston, Charlotte, N.C. and Raleigh, N.C.

On Thursday morning, airport congestion eased some. According to FlightAware, a flight tracking service, there were 564 flight delays and 424 cancellations involving U.S. airports.

Ahead of the storm, the governors of North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama declared states of emergencies, which allowed officials to direct the appropriate state agencies to help areas affected by the winter storm. In some states such as North Carolina, the declaration also triggers a price-gouging law.

The forecast on Thursday calls for sunny skies across most of the U.S., but a new snow storm is now threatening the West. The National Weather Service issued winter weather advisories through Friday for parts of northern California, southern Oregon, northern and central Nevada, central Idaho and western Montana.

By Saturday, most of the snow will be over the central Rockies, including Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, northern Arizona and northern New Mexico. The storm system will spread into the Plains and Midwest by Sunday.

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