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Seventy two MILLION put under winter storm warning: Three dead, thousands without power in the South, Northeast hit by blizzards

73 MILLION Americans are put under winter storm warning as wall of coast-to-coast snow

  • A winter storm from Alabama to New York City has left three people dead and threatens to dump a foot of snow in some areas
  • North Carolina cities Burlington, Greensboro and Roxboro has received eight inches or more of snow
  • Several inches fell in southeast Virginia, where a blizzard warning was issued for the cities along the coast
  • New York City is expected to see between three and five inches of snow, while forecasters predict as much as eight inches in Long Island 
  • Connecticut authorities shut down Interstate 91 in both directions after a 25-car pileup clogged traffic in Middletown  
  • Power outages have grown to 25,000 in North Carolina, according to a news release from the governor 
  • Many airlines have cancelled flights through Saturday and South Carolina officials have asked drivers to stay home due to the hazardous road conditions 
  • Meanwhile in California up to 12 inches of rain is expected over the weekend in lower-lying areas
  • The combination of heavy rain and melting snow could trigger the worst flooding the state has seen in at least 20 years 

Snow and sleet pounded a large swath of the East Coast on Saturday, killing three and coating roads with ice and causing hundreds of crashes.  

In Kentucky a man died when his pickup truck went off a snow-slickened road Thursday. 

The Weather Channel reported that two other deaths in Oregon and Maine have also been blamed on the weather.

Thousands of people lost power and forecasters warned of blizzard-like conditions from Virginia to parts of the Northeast.

An estimated 73million Americans from as far north as Maine and as far south as Mississippi are under winter weather storm warnings, according to NBC

Of the lower 48 states, 19 are now being affected by either winter storm warnings or advisories.

The snow storm, Helena, is gradually moving toward the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states, with warnings and advisories in effect along the coasts and up through New England, according to The National Weather Service.  

New York City is expected to see between three and five inches of snow today, while forecasters predict as much as eight inches in Long Island. 

Authorities in Connecticut had to shut down Interstate 91 in both directions after a 30-car pileup clogged traffic, according to NBC Connecticut.

 

Authorities in Connecticut had to shut down Interstate 91 in both directions after a 30-car pileup clogged traffic in Middletown (above)

Authorities in Connecticut had to shut down Interstate 91 in both directions after a 30-car pileup clogged traffic in Middletown (above)

Police said the crash near exit 21 involved at least 20 cars, three tractor trailers and a tanker. No serious injuries were reported

Police said the crash near exit 21 involved at least 20 cars, three tractor trailers and a tanker. No serious injuries were reported

The mayor of Middletown said that fuel tanks from at least two of the trucks ruptured, spilling diesel fuel onto the highway

The mayor of Middletown said that fuel tanks from at least two of the trucks ruptured, spilling diesel fuel onto the highway

More than 50 flights were canceled at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport on Saturday. An American Airlines jet is seen above at JFK

More than 50 flights were canceled at New York's John F Kennedy International Airport on Saturday. An American Airlines jet is seen above at JFK

Hundreds of flights were canceled in the South, mid-Atlantic, and Northeast on Saturday

Hundreds of flights were canceled in the South, mid-Atlantic, and Northeast on Saturday

A snow plow heads south on I-85 during a snowstorm on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina, as ice and sleet accumulated on highways throughout the South

A snow plow heads south on I-85 during a snowstorm on Saturday in Charlotte, North Carolina, as ice and sleet accumulated on highways throughout the South

A very white house! The White House with a fresh dusting of snow in Washington, DC, on Saturday

A very white house! The White House with a fresh dusting of snow in Washington, DC, on Saturday

Temperatures dip: A groundskeeper clears snow from the North Portico of the White House in Washington, U.S

Temperatures dip: A groundskeeper clears snow from the North Portico of the White House in Washington, U.S

An American Airlines plane is de-iced by airport workers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport early Saturday

An American Airlines plane is de-iced by airport workers at Charlotte Douglas International Airport early Saturday

Daniel Mitchell operates a snowblower along the sidewalk on Norfolk Ave next to Randolph College on Lynchburg, Virginia, on Saturday

Daniel Mitchell operates a snowblower along the sidewalk on Norfolk Ave next to Randolph College on Lynchburg, Virginia, on Saturday

Mark Blackwell with Bradley Wrecker Service pulls a truck from a ditch on West Boulevard near Charlotte Douglas International Airport early Saturday

Mark Blackwell with Bradley Wrecker Service pulls a truck from a ditch on West Boulevard near Charlotte Douglas International Airport early Saturday

Police said the crash near exit 21 involved at least 20 cars, three tractor trailers and a tanker. No serious injuries were reported.

The mayor of Middletown said that fuel tanks from at least two of the trucks ruptured, spilling diesel fuel onto the highway.

State workers were at the scene trying to clean up the spill, the mayor said.

NBC Connecticut is updating a list of local institutions that have closed due to the weather. 

Hundreds of flights were canceled, according to NBC, more than 50 flights were canceled at New York JFK and Newark airports early Saturday. Delta canceled 175 flights, most of which were into and out of its hub in Atlanta.

Police investigated several fatal crashes as potentially storm-related, but some of the South's biggest cities — Atlanta, Charlotte and Raleigh — appeared to avoid the worst of the storm. 

Authorities praised residents for learning the lessons of past storms that resulted in icy gridlock, where thousands of people were stranded along the interstates. But officials warned that bitter cold would keep roads treacherous well after the snow and sleet stopped.

'If I tell you anything it would be stay home,' North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said. 'Do not go out and drive on the roads unless you absolutely have to.'

Cooper was supposed to have been sworn in Saturday at an outdoor ceremony attended by thousands.

He instead rushed through a 20-minute indoor oath-taking Friday.

'Consider yourselves the chosen few,' Cooper jokingly told family, friends and well-wishers able to attend his swearing-in Friday.

North Carolina cities Burlington, Greensboro and Roxboro received eight inches or more of snow, and several inches fell in southeast Virginia, where a blizzard warning was issued for the cities along the coast.

North Carolina reported more than 250 crashes, while Virginia had more than 100. 

In Charlotte alone, 35 accidents were reported since 10pm on Friday, according to NBC News

Hundreds of crashes were reported in Tennessee starting Friday. 

Some of these were fender benders involving school buses driving along roads that were covered by up to two inches of snow. 

An SUV slides across the highway in Birmingham as winter storm creates icy conditions across the South

An SUV slides across the highway in Birmingham as winter storm creates icy conditions across the South

A Virginia transit employee watches as a motorist tries to take the exit for I-64 in Hampton, Virginia, on Saturday

A Virginia transit employee watches as a motorist tries to take the exit for I-64 in Hampton, Virginia, on Saturday

Chilly work! Michael Warren shovels snow outside of the Golden Corral in Hampton, Va., Saturday

Chilly work! Michael Warren shovels snow outside of the Golden Corral in Hampton, Va., Saturday

Snow is cleared from the Mount Rose Highway during a winter storm near Incline Village, Nevada

Snow is cleared from the Mount Rose Highway during a winter storm near Incline Village, Nevada

Power outages had grown to about 25,000 in North Carolina alone, according to a news release from the governor. Nearly half were in the Charlotte area and adjacent Union County, according to Duke Power.

In Cornelius, north of Charlotte, Matt Thomas said he used a ruler to measure nearly six inches of snow and sleet that had piled up on the back of his pickup truck. He planned to spend the weekend enjoying the snow and watching television. A plow passed through his neighborhood, but the road still looked slippery.

'The sleet started first, so there's definitely a layer of ice under the snow,' he said by phone. 'I'm staying home.'

The unpredictable storm left some areas with much different outcomes than neighboring counties. Unofficial totals from the National Weather Service showed that much of Raleigh and Charlotte had two inches or less of precipitation — much of it sleet — while areas to the north of both cities got several inches of snow.

In Atlanta and parts of Georgia, people who were expecting a couple of inches of snow instead woke up to a thin coat of ice. Still, it didn't stop children from sliding down slick grassy hills in what is a once- or twice-a-year icy occurrence.

Devastation: A tree is seen above after it fell in front a home in southwestern Atlanta

Devastation: A tree is seen above after it fell in front a home in southwestern Atlanta

The icy roads are taking their toll, as evidenced by the above photo showing a motorist skid off the highway near Marietta, Georgia

The icy roads are taking their toll, as evidenced by the above photo showing a motorist skid off the highway near Marietta, Georgia

Some took to social media to complain that they didn't have anything to sled in, prompting an apologetic Tweet from one well-known Raleigh weatherman.

'To all my detractors, more than 24 hours ago I began talking about how this snow event could go up in smoke. I try to be honest-all I can do,' WRAL-TV chief meteorologist Greg Fishel said early Saturday.

A blizzard warning for southeast Virginia accompanied forecasts of high winds and up to nine inches of snow there. The National Weather Service had already measured nearly six inches of snow at its post in Wakefield on Saturday.

Even with snow coating Virginia Beach roads, diners and staff made it to the popular breakfast spot Citrus.

'When there's bad weather, people come out,' manager Tara Junke said. 'I've worked in restaurants for 20 years in Hampton Roads and we've never shut down for snow.'

Chris Turner, 58, a health care analyst sitting at the counter with a mug of tea, said he drove seven miles to his usual breakfast spot, aided by four-wheel drive.

'It's fun to enjoy mother nature in all her glory,' he said. 'I'd rather be out. I can't stay at home.'  

A runner along East Morehead Street near uptown Charlotte braves the heavy snowfall on Saturday

A runner along East Morehead Street near uptown Charlotte braves the heavy snowfall on Saturday

People bundle against the cold and snow as they walk downtown in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday

People bundle against the cold and snow as they walk downtown in Newark, New Jersey, on Saturday

An estimated 73million Americans from as far north as Maine and as far south as Mississippi are under winter weather storm warnings early Saturday morning. Pedestrians are seen on a street in downtown Newark on Saturday

An estimated 73million Americans from as far north as Maine and as far south as Mississippi are under winter weather storm warnings early Saturday morning. Pedestrians are seen on a street in downtown Newark on Saturday

Of the lower 48 states, 19 are now being affected by either winter storm warnings or advisories. A man is bundled as he stands in the snow in Newark

Of the lower 48 states, 19 are now being affected by either winter storm warnings or advisories. A man is bundled as he stands in the snow in Newark

Raleigh-Durham International Airport said its staff worked through the night to clear runways.  

It said most airlines had canceled flights through mid-morning.

Most flights have been canceled at Norfolk's airport because of the winter storm, the latest disruption to hit airports in the region.

The website for Norfolk International Airport shows that every arriving flight has been cancelled for Saturday, as well as most departing flights.

In North Carolina, Raleigh's airport said there were many cancellations and it expected very few flights to arrive or depart on Saturday. 

The Charlotte airport said it would open with limited operations after de-icing 70 planes on Friday and plowing of the airfield. 

It advised travelers to check their carrier for cancellations. 

Atlanta's airport said that some flights have been canceled but that regular takeoffs and landings were resuming.

With southeast Virginia next in the storm's path, police in Newport News say roads in the city are 'extremely hazardous.' 

The National Weather Service reports nearly six inches of snow at its Wakefield office.

The Virginia National Guard says about 200 members are staged at firehouses around southeast Virginia with Humvees and trucks to help police and firefighters.  

This map shows the snow precipitation as of mid-day on Saturday. The storm was making its way from the Southeast to the Mid-Atlantic and up the eastern seaboard to New England

This map shows the snow precipitation as of mid-day on Saturday. The storm was making its way from the Southeast to the Mid-Atlantic and up the eastern seaboard to New England

Blizzard conditions are expected to be felt in southeast New England, particularly the Boston and Rhode Island areas

Blizzard conditions are expected to be felt in southeast New England, particularly the Boston and Rhode Island areas

Most flights have been canceled at Norfolk's airport because of the winter storm, the latest disruption to hit airports in the region. The map above shows blizzard warnings in effect for Norfolk

Most flights have been canceled at Norfolk's airport because of the winter storm, the latest disruption to hit airports in the region. The map above shows blizzard warnings in effect for Norfolk

Unseasonably cold temperatures were recorded in the South on Saturday morning, creating conditions for a rare snowstorm

Unseasonably cold temperatures were recorded in the South on Saturday morning, creating conditions for a rare snowstorm

The National Weather Service said early Saturday that cities including Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Roxboro had more than six inches of snow and sleet

The National Weather Service said early Saturday that cities including Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Roxboro had more than six inches of snow and sleet

The low temperatures mean that icy roads can be expected for the next couple of days

The low temperatures mean that icy roads can be expected for the next couple of days

Low temperatures in the single digits are expected for places like Knoxville, Tennessee, and Raleigh, North Carolina, this weekend

Low temperatures in the single digits are expected for places like Knoxville, Tennessee, and Raleigh, North Carolina, this weekend

The most snowfall is forecast for slightly off of the coast of the eastern seaboard, though most areas will likely see between three and five inches 

The most snowfall is forecast for slightly off of the coast of the eastern seaboard, though most areas will likely see between three and five inches 

The cold temperatures are part of a winter spell that is stretching from the Appalachians and into New England

The cold temperatures are part of a winter spell that is stretching from the Appalachians and into New England

Ice sickles form on a rail after a winter storm hit the South in Calera, Alabama

Ice sickles form on a rail after a winter storm hit the South in Calera, Alabama

A person catches a ride on the icy highway after leaving their car on the side of the road near Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday

A person catches a ride on the icy highway after leaving their car on the side of the road near Birmingham, Alabama, on Saturday

Riley Cotton, 7, enjoys sledding in the snow at Medi Park, after an overnight storm blanketed Amarillo, Texas, on Friday

Riley Cotton, 7, enjoys sledding in the snow at Medi Park, after an overnight storm blanketed Amarillo, Texas, on Friday

Randall County Emergency responders work an accident at Interstate 27 and Highway 2219, after a driver slide off the service road, in Amarillo, Texas, on Friday

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