Blast of winter weather grips parts of the South
A blast of winter weather gripped parts of the South on Sunday, bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain that coated bridges and roads and causing hundreds of flight cancellations.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency in preparation for severe conditions. He said the weather is likely to cause power outages and busted water pipes.
Mississippi officials warned motorists early Sunday that ice was already accumulating on roads and bridges in many counties, creating hazardous driving conditions.
Joanne Culin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, Miss., expected the worst weather in Mississippi and Louisiana on Sunday and early Monday along the Interstate 20 corridor.
Northern parts of Mississippi could get 4 to 9 inches of snow, Culin said. The more dangerous conditions, however, are expected along I-20, because the precipitation is likely to be freezing rain and sleet, which make for dangerous driving conditions.
Culin said the weather system could push into Alabama late Sunday and early Monday. Georgia could start getting rain and snow by Sunday night.
Hundreds of flights were being canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ahead of the icy weather.
Delta Airlines spokesman Anthony Black says about 325 flights have been canceled starting about 8 p.m. Sunday. AirTran Airways spokesman Christopher White says the company has canceled 14 flights for Sunday and another 270 for Monday.
Both airlines are allowing passengers whose flights are canceled to change them without fees.
Georgia is expected to be hit with up to 6 inches of snow as the powerful storm moves into the state Sunday night. Forecasters say the storm could also bring sleet and freezing rain lasting into Tuesday.
In Alabama, Auburn University students will have to find somewhere other than campus to watch the Tigers play in the championship bowl game Monday. The university has canceled all viewing parties and other events planned as the state prepares for severe winter weather.