More than 350,000 homes and businesses in the Deep South are without power after a winter storm coated highways, trees and power lines with ice. At least nine traffic deaths were blamed on the treacherous weather, and more than 3,100 airline flights nationwide were cancelled.
As residents across the South heeded forecasters’ warnings and hunkered down against the onslaught of snow and freezing rain, the storm pushed northward along the Interstate 95 corridor.
The already winter-weary mid-Atlantic and Northeast are next in line, with forecasters calling for more than a foot of snow in some parts of the regions on Thursday.
In the South, ice combined with wind gusts up to 30 mph in Georgia, snapping tree limbs and power lines.
More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost power in Georgia, while 130,000 in South Carolina and nearly 30,000 in Louisiana were in the dark.
In Atlanta – caught unprepared by last week’s storm – streets and highways were largely deserted this time.
The scene was markedly different from January 28, when children were stranded all night in schools and countless people abandoned their cars after getting stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours and hours.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, who was widely criticised over his handling of the last storm, sounded an upbeat note this time.
He said: “Thanks to the people of Georgia. You have shown your character.”
Meanwhile, North Carolina’s governor urged people to charge their phones and find batteries for radios and flashlights amid predictions of nearly a foot of snow in parts of the state, including Charlotte.
“Stay smart. Don’t put your stupid hat on at this point in time. Protect yourself. Protect your family. Protect your neighbours,” Gov Pat McCrory said.
Further north, the heavy weather was the latest in an unending drumbeat of storms that have depleted cities’ salt supplies and caused school systems to run out of snow days.
The nation’s capital could get up to eight inches (20cm) of snow, and New York City could see six inches (15cm) on Thursday.