Winter storm brings snow and ice to southern US

A dangerous winter storm with high winds and ice slammed into parts of the southeastern United States on Sunday, knocking out power, toppling trees and fences and coating roads with a treacherous icy glaze.

Tens of thousands of users were without power in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Highway patrols reported hundreds of traffic accidents, and a tornado hit a trailer park in Florida. More than 1,200 flights were canceled at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Sunday, more than 90% of the Sunday itinerary, according to flight-tracking site flightaware.com.

Winter Storm Izzy dumped up to 10 inches of snow in parts of western North Carolina as the system moved across the southeastern United States, said Brian Hurley of the Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

First Sgt. Christopher Knox, a spokesman for the North Carolina Highway Patrol, said that as of Sunday afternoon, the agency had responded to 300 vehicle crashes and about 800 calls for help. Two people were killed Sunday when their vehicle went off the road and hit trees in Raleigh. The driver and passenger, both 41-year-old residents of South Carolina, were pronounced dead at the scene. Knox said investigators believe the vehicle was traveling too fast for conditions described as mixed winter precipitation.

Durham police tweeted a photo of a trailer that went off the overpass on State Highway 147 in Durham. The cab of the truck appeared to have fallen horizontally onto the 15-501 freeway, while the rest of the vehicle ended up upright. Police spokeswoman Kammie Michael said the driver is in stable condition and his injuries are not life-threatening.

Kristen Baker Morrow’s 6-year-old son was making snow angels after about 4 inches (12 centimeters) of snow fell on his home in Crouse, North Carolina. However, they could not spend too much time outdoors due to the thermal sensation.

“It took us 30 to 45 minutes to get all (our clothes) on to spend about 10 minutes in the snow, but it was definitely worth it for him to take our photos and make some memories,” said Morrow, a 35-year-old nurse.

Blackouts, which reached 250,000 customers in the early hours of Sunday, dropped to 150,000 by night, according to poweroutage.us. North Carolina was the most affected state, with some 90,000 homes without electricity. There were also power outages in parts of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

The National Weather Service confirmed the presence of a tornado with winds of 190 km / h (118 mph) in southwest Florida. The agency said the tornado was on the ground for nearly two miles (3 kilometers), with a maximum width of 125 yards (115 meters). Thirty mobile homes were destroyed and 51 suffered major damage. Three people were reported with minor injuries.

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Associated Press reporters Dave Porter in New York City; Jeff Martin in Woodstock, Ga.; Rebecca Reynolds in Simpsonville, Kentucky; Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Ron Todt, in Philadelphia; Kim Chandler in Montgomery, Alabama; and Collin Binkley in Killington, Vermont, contributed to this report.