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Winter Storm Effects Linger in South   01/18 06:09

   DURHAM, N.C. (AP) -- Several Southern states will be dealing with the 
lingering effects of a slow-moving winter storm that dumped a half-foot (15 
centimeters) of snow on North Carolina's largest cities, dusted the Deep South 
and killed at least 10 people.

   From Charlotte to Raleigh, North Carolina's five most populous cities all 
saw significant snow from a system that followed an atypical west-to-east path 
across the state --- and moved more slowly than forecasters had predicted. By 
late Wednesday afternoon, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Durham each had more 
than 6 inches (15 centimeters), while some places saw as much as 10 inches (25 
centimeters)

   In northern Durham County, Ben Kimmel marveled as snow blew across his 
property all day Wednesday. Meteorologists say parts of the county saw 8 inches 
(20 centimeters) of snow. Kimmel said he had propane to heat his house if he 
lost electricity and has extra water, too.

   "This is really unusual for this area to have this much snow," said the 
49-year-old, who has lived in the state most of his life.

   Kimmel said his shoveling priorities would be walkways for him and his wife, 
as well as their dogs.

   "We have two little dogs that are not in the mood for this, so I'll probably 
try to clear some paths for them," he said.

   Elsewhere, icicles hung from a statue of jazz musicians in normally balmy 
New Orleans on Wednesday, and drivers unaccustomed to ice spun their wheels 
across Atlanta, which was brought to a near-standstill by little more than an 
inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow.

   At least four people died in Louisiana, including a man knocked off an 
elevated portion of Interstate 10 in New Orleans when a pickup spun out on ice, 
and an 8-month-old baby in a car that slid into a canal in suburban New 
Orleans. The baby's mother was in critical condition.

   Two others died along an icy stretch of I-75 southeast of Atlanta when a 
driver lost control and hit them, one of them inside a stopped car and the 
other standing beside it, authorities said.

   One person died in a weather-related traffic accident in West Virginia. In 
the freezing Houston area, a homeless man was found dead behind a trash bin, 
apparently of exposure, while an 82-year-old woman with dementia succumbed to 
the cold after walking away from her home. Also, a woman was discovered dead in 
a snowy park near City Hall in Memphis. The temperature was around 10 degrees 
(minus 12 Celsius) when she was found.

   In North Carolina, state troopers responded to 1,600 crashes while Charlotte 
police reported another nearly 200 by late Wednesday. Gov. Roy Cooper said 
state officials weren't aware of any fatalities. About 30,000 homes and 
businesses were without power, including about half in Durham and Wake counties.

   "This has been quite a white-out for our state," Cooper said at a weather 
briefing late Wednesday. "This has been a slower-moving storm than anticipated 
so it's dumping more snow on us."

   The cold drove soaring electrical usage in parts of the South, where many 
homes rely on electricity for heating and hot water. A regional electricity 
grid manager, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, asked Wednesday 
that customers in most of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and a slice of 
eastern Texas reduce their power usage Thursday morning after usage Wednesday 
hit a winter record. If supply can't meet demand, local utilities would have to 
resort to rolling blackouts.

   Cities from Atlanta to Raleigh saw business slow to a crawl. Downtown 
Atlanta was eerily quiet. Dozens of accidents were reported across the 
metropolitan area, one involving a salt truck.

   After raking North Carolina, forecasters expected the system to move 
offshore. Snow tapered across the state by late Wednesday, but wind chill 
warnings remained in effect overnight.

   "This system should actually transition off the coast and not give too many 
more people issues after (Wednesday)," said James Morrow, a National Weather 
Service meteorologist in Raleigh.

   He said one reason that so many North Carolina cities have gotten hit is the 
storm's west-east motion, which differs from many winter storms that move in a 
more northeastern direction.

   In Charlotte, North Carolina, minor league hockey team the Charlotte 
Checkers played a game in an empty building. Fans were not allowed in because 
of the wintry conditions.

   Connor Howe, who does application engineering for a home smart metering 
company, trudged through neighborhood streets with his girlfriend, Allie 
Eidson, who had the day off from classes at the University of North Carolina at 
Chapel Hill, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west. Between study and online 
work, they said they'd taken breaks to cook and go outside to toss snowballs.

   "I just got snowed in for the day, but we're happy about it," Eidson said.

   To the west, in Winston-Salem, which got more than 6 inches (15 centimeters) 
of snow, Wake Forest University women's volleyball coach Bill Ferguson said the 
latest snowstorm marked his third since moving from Los Angeles 18 months ago. 
He and his family found a hill on the campus and christened it their sledding 
spot.

   "I don't know if this is real winter for most of the country, but for us, it 
is," Ferguson said.

   Michelle Klosterman, a ninth-grade biology teacher, brought her two children 
out.

   "This one was a real surprise, so it makes it more fun," Klosterman said.


(KA)

 
 
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