Southeast States Recovering from Record-Breaking Snowstorm

January 26, 2016

A massive winter storm that hit the Southeast and East Coast over the weekend set a snowfall record in West Virginia, caused tornadoes in Mississippi and stranded motorists on a cold highway in Kentucky overnight. Thousands were also left without power in several states – and that was before the storm made its way through the rest of the Eastern Coast, wreaking havoc New York and Maryland, among others.

Glengary, West Virginia, received the biggest snowfall with 42 inches from Jan. 22 through Jan. 24. Tennessee saw its heaviest snowfall in about 20 years as the storm passed through the state. Crashes were reported on highways statewide and 11 inches of snow was reported near the Tennessee-Kentucky border Friday. AIR Worldwide reported eastern Kentucky received 22 inches of snow in total, and Nashville saw 8 inches.

In Kentucky, hundreds of motorists were left stranded on I-75 reportedly for 19 hours, with many sleeping in their cars, after the storm dumped more than a foot of snow in south central Kentucky. Multiple crashes and traffic created a 30-mile stretch of shivering passengers. By Saturday afternoon, I-75 was no longer closed, with lanes open both northbound and southbound. State police Trooper Lloyd Cochran said he couldn’t give a figure for number of cars or people affected by the standstill but noted that no injuries were reported.

At least 13 people were killed in weather-related accidents across the Southeast region.

The National Weather Service in Jackson, Miss., confirmed at least two tornadoes tore through Lamar and Simpson counties on Friday after the first storm hit the state on Thursday night. No injuries were reported.

Even the Sunshine State wasn’t safe from what was unofficially named Winter Storm Jonas. Snow flurries were reported in North Florida on Saturday morning and Miami recorded the lowest temperature ever for the start of the Miami Marathon at 46 degrees. At least 3,000 people missed the marathon completely because of cancelled flights and unsafe travel conditions, race organizers told the Miami Herald. USA Today reported at least 11,000 flight cancellations nationwide.

About 50,000 customers in the Carolinas remained without power Sunday as the sun finally creeped out across the two states that were hit by the first wave of the storm.

Duke Energy reported that about 48,000 customers were without electricity in North Carolina, and another 1,700 in South Carolina on Sunday morning. More than 11,000 in North Carolina were still without power Monday morning.  Since the storm on Friday, Georgia Power reported that crews had restored power to more than 125,000 customers statewide in total.

Governors in Kentucky, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia declared states of emergency.

Snowfall finally ceased in many of the Southeast states by Sunday, but freezing temperatures have kept roads slick and state emergency management departments urged drivers to use caution. The National Weather Service forecasted rain showers and rising temperatures later this week, with possible thunderstorms. NWS said the combination of snowfall and additional rainfall created a slight possibility of flooding in some Southeast states.

Associated Press writers Travis Loller, Adam Beam and Bill Fuller contributed to this report.

 

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