According to CNN on Tuesday, winter storm warnings are posted for Louisiana through Georgia, parts of eastern Tennessee, the Carolinas and Virginia. A separate, more serious ice storm warning has been extended from the Georgia-Alabama state line to just west of Charleston, South Carolina.
Forecasters are calling this intense band of freezing rain and ice "potentially catastrophic," and are warning of significant snow accumulations in Georgia.
Georgia governor Nathan Deal referred to ice as his state’s biggest enemy, perhaps thinking back two week’s ago to the previous blast of freezing rain, when a rare winter storm left thousands unprepared, five dead and children stranded at schools.
The South has historically been ill-prepared to deal with major snow systems.
“This is one of Mother Nature's worst kind of storms that can be inflicted on the South,” Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “That is ice. It is our biggest enemy.”
Winter-weary residents are waking up to their homes and vehicles encased in a tomb of thick ice. Power officials have warned that countless thousands could lose power due to heavy ice bringing down trees and power lines.
On Monday, before a single snowflake fell, Gov. Deal declared a state of emergency. Unlike last month’s ice storm catastrophe, which forced tens of thousands of vehicles onto the streets at one time, causing an impasse of abandoned cars and trucks, the early warning has been heard.
Schools and workplaces have closed, allowing road crews to prepare the highways for snow and ice.
In Georgia, frenzied shoppers got into a gunfight at a local grocer after arguing over needed storm supplies.