Winter weather alerts stretch nearly 1,000 miles from Georgia to Maine on Sunday, covering as many as 80 million people, CNN meteorologists said.
Meanwhile, nearly three million people in the Northeast are under high wind warnings, including in New York City and Boston. Winds gusting between 40 and 50 mph are possible — which could lead to power outages — while some parts of Maine could see gusts up to 65 mph.
Philadelphia was added to the winter weather advisory Sunday evening and snow began just after 6 p.m., CNN’s Gene Norman said. He added the city would likely see a few hours of snow before it mixed with rain overnight. Light snow began falling in New York City around 7 p.m. and flurries are also possible in Boston, he said.
The storm is disrupting transportation, with warnings to stay off roads and at least 2,987 flights canceled on Sunday, according to FlightAware.
“Wet roads will refreeze, becoming icy and slippery,” it said. “Widespread black ice should be expected Monday morning, and may be a concern into the middle of the week. DOT asks persons to stay off roads unless absolutely necessary.”
The South Carolina National Guard has been activated to assist with the storm and keep roads clear.
“At the direction of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, the South Carolina National Guard has activated approximately 120 service members to be available to support our state partners in response to the winter weather impacting areas of the state,” said US Army Maj. Gen. Van McCarty, the adjutant general of South Carolina, in a Sunday news release.
- South Carolina 34,779
- North Carolina 33,729
- Virginia 33,037
- Georgia 26,115
- Maryland 22,357
“North Carolina is now feeling the effects of a winter storm that will continue to move through the state today,” Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday.
“As much as eight to 12 inches of snow has fallen in some counties, and significant icing is causing trouble in the central part of the state,” Cooper said. “Conditions vary across North Carolina and are dangerous in many areas.”
At least 25 North Carolina counties have declared a state of emergency, and Cooper said some counties are prepared to open shelters to house those who do not have power or heat.
Road conditions are “treacherous” across North Carolina, state transportation secretary Eric Boyette said.
Authorities responded to more than 400 crashes Sunday, North Carolina State Highway Patrol spokesperson First Sgt. Christopher Knox told CNN on Sunday night.
“We have responded to 444 collisions and 989 calls for service from midnight today until late this afternoon in affected areas of the state,” Knox said.
He said two people, both age 41 and from Myrtle Beach, SC, were killed Sunday morning on I-95 in Nash County after their vehicle traveled off the road and struck several trees in the median.
“Exceeding a safe speed for the conditions is the proximate cause of the collision,” Knox said. “Weather at the time was a mixture of wintry precipitation.”
Charlotte could get up to a foot of snow in the foothills and up to a half-inch of ice, forecasters said. Raleigh is expected to get up to 2 inches of snow and possibly a quarter-inch of ice.
The Virginia State Police say they have responded to at least 142 traffic crashes and 162 disabled vehicles since midnight due to the ongoing winter storm.
All lanes on I-81 in Roanoke County are back open this evening after being closed due to multiple tractor-trailer crashes, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).
Travel is being discouraged tonight on I-81 as crews continue to battle the snow and ice.
“Western Virginia has terrain with steep grades increasing the hazardous nature of travel, especially trucks, during a heavy snow/ice event. Trucks should avoid traveling on #I81 and #I77 in Virginia Sunday into Monday. ALL drivers avoid nonessential travel. Please!,” VDOT’s Salem District tweeted.
The Virginia National Guard said in a news release it had approximately 75 personnel staged for possible winter storm response operations at various locations across the state.
Freezing roads in northern Georgia have led to perilous conditions, the National Weather Service in Atlanta said.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp asked residents to stay off the roads.
The Mid-Atlantic and Northeast are under the gun
Forecasters say the storm will move up the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions on Sunday and Monday.
Some snow will fall in major metro areas, but a change to rain will hold down the accumulations. Washington could get 2-4 inches, while Philadelphia could get 1-2 inches. New York and Boston are expected to get about an inch each.
But heavier snow is expected elsewhere.
“7 to 10 inches is possible, but over a foot is not out of the question where heavier bands form.”
Snowfall intensity in the region may be heavy enough to evade significant icing, but NWS Baltimore warned untreated surfaces could still lead to dangerous travel conditions where ice accumulates.
The majority of accumulating snowfall will occur Sunday afternoon through Monday morning.
Interior cities such as Charleston, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Syracuse and Burlington, Vermont, will see the heaviest snow.
Coastal flooding also expected
Alongside the snowfall potential, strong winds from the east associated with the storm system could cause major coastal flooding of up to 3 feet above ground in some areas along the Northeast coast during high tide.
Parts of New York City, Long Island and some areas of Connecticut are under coastal flood warnings, forecasters said.
The timing of winds shifting from the east to the south will largely determine the severity of flooding, with moderate flooding potential if winds shift prior to high tide.
“Widespread moderate to locally major flooding of vulnerable areas is possible near the waterfront and shoreline, including roads, parking lots, parks, lawns, and homes and businesses with basements near the waterfront,” the NWS in New York said Saturday.
Inundation could cause road closures and structural damage along the Atlantic coastline.
CNN’s Joe Sutton, Allison Chinchar, Chad Myers, Dave Hennen, Monica Garrett, Haley Brink, Claudia Dominguez and Susannah Cullinane contributed to this report.