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Major winter storm hits US, leaving 700 000+ without power, 1 700+ flights canceled


The major winter storm that has been hammering the interior southeast United States and parts of the Mid-Atlantic over the past weekend is now moving offshore. The storm produced 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 feet) of snow across northwest North Carolina and south-central Virgina, left 3 people dead, more than 700 000 customers without power and over 1 700 flights canceled.

Well over 700 000 Duke customers lost power at one time or another as a result of the storm, according to figures the company released Monday night, December 10.

Power had been restored to at least 660 000 by 07:00 LT, December 11, and fewer than 50 000 remained without electricity.

The storm canceled more than 1 700 flights on December 9, of those more than 1 100 at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, North Carolina.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm, urging its residents to prepare. "This is a snowstorm, not a snowfall," he said.

According to NCDT, Interstate 26 was closed in both directions at Saluda Grade after several semitractor trailers got stuck in the roadway. Part of the U.S. 70 was also closed after a semitrailer truck ran off the road and into the Neuse River at about 04:00 LT, December 9. Five members of the Sidney Dive Team from Beaufort County spent much of the day in the frigid water searching for the truck driver, WRAL reports. "It is brutal," one of the drive team members said. "The river is high with a strong current."

Col. Glenn M. McNeill, commander of the State Highway Patrol, said troopers had responded to 509 collisions and 1 100 service calls since midnight Saturday, December 8.

Authorities confirmed one person lost its life after a tree fell on a car in Matthews, North Carolina.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam also declared a state of emergency and urged residents to prepare for the possibility of a wintry mix of snow, sleet, ice and rain over parts of western, central and northern Virginia.

Virginia State Police spokesperson said they responded to 65 snow-related crashes before 12:00 LT, December 9.

The storm also affected South Carolina where it left over 91 000 customers without power and dozens of cars stranded along roadways.

More than 25 cm (10 inches) of snow fell on parts of Oklahoma, at least 26.6 cm (10.5 inches) on Lubbock, Texas, making it the second-snowiest December day on record.

"That gets relevant when you realize the historical, monthly record for Lubbock in December is 11 inches). That is significant," Lubbock City Manager Jarrett Atkinson said.

While the winter storm is now moving offshore, some lighter mixed wintry precipitation is expected to continue affecting the region on Monday as an upper level disturbance passes through the region, and leads to a secondary surface low off the Mid-Atlantic coast, NWS forecaster Hamrick said December 10.

Travel conditions remain hazardous for many of these areas affected, and additional power disruptions are possible.

Across the western U.S., a Pacific cold front making its way inland is expected to produce snow showers from the Sierra Nevada to the northern Rockies through Monday night.

A second storm system approaching the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday will likely produce heavier precipitation from western Washington to Idaho, with heavy snow for the Cascades and a couple inches of rainfall and gusty winds near the coast.

Much of the central U.S. should be void of any significant precipitation for the beginning of the work week as a large surface high continues to govern the weather pattern.

This also holds true for the Desert Southwest and the Ohio Valley region. Temperatures are expected to be below normal across much of the central and eastern U.S. on Monday, and then some moderation by Tuesday, December 11.

Featured image credit: Live Storms Media

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