Winter storm blanketing parts of the south with snow and ice

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Teams from the Virginia Department of Transportation load salt into the plows on Thursday afternoon, Jan.6, 2021, at the regional headquarters in North Bristol, Va., On Reedy Creek Road, as they prepare for the snow coming. (David Crigger / Bristol Herald Courier via AP)

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A winter storm blanketed parts of the south with snow, freezing rain and sleet on Thursday, bringing roads in Tennessee and Kentucky to a standstill as the system made its way through the Appalachians to the mid-Atlantic and northeast. is.

The storm began to hit greater Nashville on Thursday morning. About 4 to 6 inches of snow had fallen over a wide swath of mid-Tennessee in the early afternoon, with snowfall continuing for perhaps a few more hours, said National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Unger in Nashville. . Freezing rain and sleet covered areas around the Tennessee-Alabama border, Unger said.

Authorities have urged people to travel only when necessary, as Metro Nashville police have reported crashes and other driving issues that have rumored and slowed down several roads. City police reported dozens of wrecks on the road in the early afternoon. Police say a section of Interstate 40 has been clogged due to a fuel spill accident in a tractor trailer, one of many issues plaguing several of the city’s freeways.

Along the Kentucky border, authorities in Montgomery County, Tennessee were also facing dozens of accidents, including one crash that killed one person involving a commercial vehicle on Interstate 24, according to the door. – Tennessee Highway Patrol speech, Lt. Bill Miller.

Tennessee Department of Transportation regional spokesperson Rebekah Hammonds tweeted Thursday that the agency “is cleaning up as much as possible, but problems will persist as snow continues to fall and temperatures drop.”

With temperatures expected to drop overnight, everything on the ground will freeze over and create dangerous road conditions on Friday, Unger said.

Schools in Tennessee have canceled classes and governments have temporarily closed their buildings, as far west as Memphis and Shelby County, which have seen a dose of ice and snow. Governor Bill Lee closed state offices in Tennessee. Nashville and Memphis have both seen their share of canceled flights at their airports.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear warned the snow hitting his state was “both real and dangerous.” Some areas had already received more than half a foot by early afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologist Ron Steve said. Beshear said he has deployed Kentucky National Guard teams to help with the response.

The heaviest snowfall to date was 7-8 inches around Elizabethtown. Lexington was 4 to 5 inches, Steve said. The far west of Kentucky was about 3 inches and the snowfall was decreasing.

In Elizabethtown, officials said a stack of 20 to 30 cars in snowy conditions Thursday afternoon closed both lanes of the Western Kentucky Parkway. And the two lanes of US Route 25 in south-central Kentucky were temporarily blocked by several accidents, state police said.

First Lady Jill Biden, meanwhile, had to cancel her trip scheduled for Thursday to see damage from last month’s tornado in Bowling Green, Ky.

The storm presented an expected boon to the ski industry in West Virginia, where up to 9 inches of snow was forecast. Three of the state’s four main alpine ski resorts had suspended their activities on the slopes earlier this week due to warmer conditions. Now the activity was resuming.

“West Virginia looks forward to welcoming travelers to our snow-capped mountains this winter,” said Chelsea Ruby, secretary of the state’s Department of Tourism.

The storm’s track could create further headaches as it swirls across the mid-Atlantic and northeast.

In Virginia, work was underway both to prepare for the expected snowfall and to mitigate the effects of a winter storm earlier in the week that left hundreds of drivers stranded on Interstate 95.

Governor Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency and requested further assistance from the Virginia National Guard.

Areas of Washington and Baltimore, parts of central and southern Maryland, and parts of northern Virginia should expect 2-4 inches of snow overnight Thursday through Friday morning, with isolated high amounts up to 6 inches, said the National Weather Service.

Massachusetts was preparing at 8 inches or more from the first snowstorm of 2022, and as a precaution, many state employees were asked to stay home on Friday. Gov. Charlie Baker said non-emergency executive branch state employees were encouraged to stay off the road and work from home. Baker also urged residents to work from home or use public transportation so freeways are free of traffic and can be easily cleared.

From late Thursday through Friday afternoon, 4 to 7 inches of snow was expected in parts of central and southern New Hampshire, as well as south-central and southwestern Maine, according to the Weather Service. The highest quantities are expected along the coast. The most stable snow will be expected during the morning drive on Friday before gradually diminishing.

In Michigan, meanwhile, Great Lakes-fed snow fell for a second straight day Thursday in the western part of the state and the Upper Peninsula, with some communities reporting remarkable amounts and bracing for even more d ‘here Friday.

Ishpeming recorded 23 inches in one place, while many other areas of the Upper Peninsula were a foot or more, the National Weather Service said.

In North Dakota, dangerously freezing weather presented the greatest risk on Thursday. The cold temperatures enveloping the state have lowered wind chill readings to minus 59 degrees in Bowbells, the seat of Burke County, in northwest North Dakota. Mandan was minus 45 and Bismarck was 41 below zero, according to the National Weather Service.

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Associated Press editors John Raby in Charleston, West Virginia; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee; Beth Campbell in Louisville, Kentucky; Bill Kole in Boston; Ed White in Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia; contributed to this report.

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