The Latest: Driver missing after crash into river amid storm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on severe winter storm hitting parts of the U.S. Southeast (all times local):
Divers in North Carolina have been searching for a missing driver whose tractor-trailer crashed through a guardrail and into a river during a massive winter storm.
WRAL-TV reports that five members of a dive team searched the Neuse River in Kinston, North Carolina, for a missing truck driver Sunday.
Sgt. Scott Hemby of the State Highway Patrol said a passer-by reported seeing debris on a bridge over the river early Sunday.
North Carolina Department of Transportation officials used a large boat to help engineers inspect the bridge, while authorities tried to pull the truck out of the water Sunday afternoon.
Police in Maryland are urging drivers to be careful as a massive winter storm makes its way north after blanketing southern states with snow.
Maryland State Police in the southern part of the state have activated a snow emergency plan.
Meanwhile, police in Virginia say there have been significant delays on interstates as vehicles stuck in snow have impeded travel.
Virginia State Police said I-81 in far southwest Virginia has been particularly dangerous, with snow coming down faster Sunday afternoon than crews could clear it.
Police said several tractor-trailers slid off the highway.
A snowstorm in the Southeast has prompted the cancellation of a holiday train in northwest Tennessee.
Discovery Park in Union City says in a news release that several Polar Express performances scheduled for Sunday at the park were called off.
The statement says the park was closed due to icy and hazardous weather conditions, and that “the safety of our guests comes first.”
The sold-out event allows young pajama-wearing guests and their parents to enjoy hot cocoa and a cookie while listening to a conductor read the popular “Polar Express” story about the adventure of a doubting young boy who takes an extraordinary train ride to the North Pole on Christmas Eve.
The park says a full refund will be given to Sunday’s Polar Express ticketholders. Additional Polar Express runs are scheduled for Dec. 16.
Authorities have responded to hundreds of traffic accidents as a winter storm dumps snow and ice on parts of the Southeast.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said Sunday that the State Highway Patrol has responded to more than 500 crashes and 1,100 calls for service. Cooper said some crashes had caused major delays on interstate highways.
Virginia State Police Sunday afternoon they’d responded to more than 60 crashes as southern parts of the state have seen more than a foot (30 cm) of snow.
Officials have urged motorists to stay off the road as crews work to clear them of snow and ice.
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.”