Southern states face messy mix as Northeast digs out from yet another storm

Posted at 6:42 AM, Feb 16, 2015

(CNN) — As a weary Northeast remains buried in snow , the South is gearing up for a messy mix of snow, sleet and ice.

More than a dozen states will be affected, including Kansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi.

Southern Indiana could see up to 10 inches of snow while northern Kentucky faces between 8 to 14 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

“Travel will be treacherous with some roads nearly impassable,” the National Weather Service said. “Have an emergency kit of blankets, food, water and flashlights if you must travel.”

In addition to slick roads, trees may come down because of snow accumulations, causing power outages. Forecasters warned residents in affected areas to defer travel in rural roads until Tuesday.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley ordered various agencies on alert, including the Emergency Management Agency, the state National Guard and law enforcement agencies.

“State agencies are on standby to coordinate resources to support the needs of Alabama counties if necessary,” Bentley said.

In Missouri, St. Louis braced for heavy snow Monday, possibly into overnight, CNN affiliate KMOV reported.

School districts in cities such as Little Rock, Arkansas, shut down in anticipation of wintry weather.

Winter is relative

Wintry weather is in the eye of the beholder.

The Northeast is urging drivers to stay off roads as the fourth storm in three weeks drops snow that for Boston, has exceeded 45 inches in February alone.

It takes a fraction of that to get residents in the South into emergency mode. Sometimes, it doesn’t even have to snow — just the possibility of wintry weather is enough for a partial shutdown.

The Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for northern Georgia, warning of potential snow and ice accumulation on the roads.

Temperatures dropped in the Atlanta area early Monday, and even though the forecast suggests the snow/ice mix will likely fall farther north, some school districts closed out of caution.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for 15 northern Georgia counties and asked state workers there to work from home if they’re not involved in emergency response.

Residents loaded up on food and other supplies, memories of last year’s storm likely fresh in their minds.

Deja vu?

Last year, it took less than 3 inches of snow to paralyze Atlanta, with motorists stranded for more than 20 hours in some cases.

While last year’s debacle has Atlanta’s preparations in the spotlight, other parts of the South are bracing for worse weather in the next day or two.

“We will begin clearing secondary routes as quickly as we can. We will work until the job is done, but this will likely be a sustained effort through Monday into Tuesday. We ask motorists to please limit travel during this period,” said Heather Jensen, a spokeswoman with the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

The North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro closed because of “heavy wind damage to trees throughout the park.”

The wind knocked down two trees at the zoo, spokesman Gavin Johnson said.

No animals were injured.

Boston makes history

As the Northeast digs out of multiple snowstorms, Boston made its way into the record books.

After yet another blizzard last week, the city marked its snowiest month since record-keeping started in 1872, forecasters said Sunday.

“It’s official, Boston has reached its snowiest month on record with 45.5 total inches,” the National Weather Service tweeted. “The old record was 43.3 in January 2005.”

The city marked another milestone over the weekend: third snowiest winter on record, with 89.2 inches so far.