WASHINGTON, D.C.: The usually balmy United States (US) South was paralyzed on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) by a freak snowstorm that forced thousands of children to shelter in schools overnight and left thousands of motorists stranded on icy roads.
Schools were closed in towns and cities across the region, as authorities struggled to shake off Tuesday’s unusual snowfall and freezing temperatures.
Emergency declarations were issued in several southern states, as a result of the wintry conditions felt as far south as Texas and affecting Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and other states famous as havens from the northern winter.
Temperatures in Atlanta fell to 14 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 10 Celsius), the coldest in memory for many residents. New Orleans shivered at 30 Fahrenheit.
Traffic was still snarled in many places, more than 24 hours after the backups began.
Thousands of desperate motorists ditched their cars to seek shelter at roadside shops and convenience stores, where they slept on floors overnight.
Georgia said at least one person had been killed in the cold snap and that more than 1,200 traffic accidents were reported.