The Latest: Cooper urges residents to stay off roads
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AP) — The Latest on severe winter storm hitting parts of the U.S. Southeast (all times local):
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper is strongly urging residents to stay off the road as a massive winter storm blankets parts of the Southeast with snow and ice.
Cooper said at a news conference Sunday that emergency crews, including the National Guard, had worked overnight to clear traffic accidents on major interstates. Cooper said one tractor trailer ran off a road and into a river.
Cooper told residents to stay at home and wrap holiday presents and watch football while the snow falls Sunday.
“Stay put if you can,” he said.
Cooper said more than 175,000 North Carolina households were without power and utilities had brought in 1,500 out-of-state workers to help restore service. He said that 11 shelters are open, mainly in western North Carolina, for people needing a place to stay.
More than 300,000 power outages have been reported as a winter storm makes its way across the Southeast.
About 180,000 outages tracked by poweroutages.us on Sunday were concentrated in North Carolina, where forecasters have said some mountain areas could get up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow or more.
Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency as the storm approached.
More than 82,000 were without power in South Carolina, while a total of about 75,000 outages were reported across Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi.
More than 1,000 flights have been canceled out of North Carolina’s largest airport as a winter storm makes its way across the Southeast.
That’s according to flight tracking website FlightAware. Charlotte-Douglas International Airport says it’s also “reduced its operations” as rain, freezing rain, and snow move across the area.
Charlotte-Douglas is the second-largest hub of American Airlines. The airline says it’s cancelled a total of 1,100 flights for Sunday and 300 flights for Monday.
American has also issued a travel alert for nine airports throughout the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Virginia, meaning passengers may be able to change travel plans without a fee.
Airport officials say snow teams worked overnight in Charlotte on Saturday to clear the airfield, roadways and overpasses.
A storm spreading snow, sleet and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South has millions of people in its path, raising the threat of immobilizing snowfalls, icy roads and power outages.
Governors and local officials in several states declared emergencies ahead of the storm crossing several Southern states.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Saturday that residents in the some parts of the state should be ready for a lengthy fight with the storm, which began dumping snow and sleet over the southern Appalachians Saturday night.
“We’re preparing for days of impact, not hours,” Cooper said. “Stay safe where you are. Getting out on dangerous roads could put your life at risk.”