CHARLOTTE — A lingering storm kept dumping immobilizing snow, sleet or freezing rain across North Carolina, leaving dangerously icy roads and hundreds of thousands of people without electricity across the South. Authorities urged people to stay home Monday in areas where driving was dangerous.
At least 90 of North Carolina’s 115 public school systems were either delayed or closed on Monday due to the storm.
Accidents on snow-covered interstates caused major delays Sunday, hundreds of flights were canceled and drivers in North Carolina and Virginia got stuck in snow or lost control on icy patches. But the commuters’ nightmare provided pre-winter thrills for kids and the young at heart, who were able to go sledding and build snowmen in places that don’t often see so much of the white stuff.
The National Weather Service said a “prolonged period of snow” began late Saturday and would last until Monday in the region, with the heaviest snow in northwest North Carolina and southern Virginia. Some areas of North Carolina and Virginia saw more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow by Sunday afternoon.
More than 300,000 power outages were reported across the region, with North Carolina bearing the brunt of it, and nearly 270,000 remained without power Monday morning, according to poweroutage.us. South Carolina and Virginia, along with parts of Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, also saw outages.
Law enforcement in North Carolina and Virginia said they’d responded to hundreds of snow-related traffic accidents as of Sunday afternoon, as cars, trucks and tractor-trailers all struggled with the snow and ice.
Five members of a dive team searched the Neuse River in Kinston, North Carolina, for a missing driver Sunday after a tractor-trailer ran off a road and into the river, WRAL-TV reported . Police just outside of Charlotte said a driver died when a tree fell on a moving vehicle.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the sixth busiest airport in the country, said American Airlines reduced its operations, with more than 1,000 flights canceled on Sunday.