Wide swaths of the Carolinas, Georgia and Tennessee woke up to power outages Sunday morning as Winter Storm Diego continued to dump snow and ice across the Southeast. Later in the day, the snow started falling in parts of Virginia.
One person was killed when a tree fell on a car Sunday afternoon in Matthews, North Carolina, Officer Tim Aycock, a spokesman for the police department told weather.com.
As of 4:30 p.m. EST, 212,000 customers had no electricity in North Carolina, according to PowerOutage.us. Over 91,000 were cut off in South Carolina, 13,000 in northeastern Georgia and more than 16,000 in Tennessee. About 36,000 customers lost power in Virginia. At one point Sunday the total number exceeded 400,000.
Hundreds of Sunday morning church services were canceled because of the ice and snow, and many districts announced schools would be closed on Monday.
More than 1,700 flights were canceled on Sunday, according to flightaware.com. More than 1,100 of those were at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Gov. Roy Cooper earlier had warned residents that now is “the time to hunker down” and prepare for the worst of Winter Storm Diego, which dumped more than 10 inches of snow on Texas Saturday.
“This is a snowstorm, not a snow fall. It’s serious,” Gov. Cooper said Saturday during a press conference. “In the Piedmont to western parts of our state, we’re preparing for days of impact, not hours.”
Cooper’s warning came a day after he declared a state of emergency for all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. States of emergency have also been declared in Virginia and Oklahoma.
By noon Sunday, Virginia State Police had responded to 65 traffic crashes because of the snow, the Richmond Times Dispatch reported. Chesterfield County police reported 18 accidents and 10 disabled vehicles, and Henrico County officials had seen about 24 accidents.
Police in Prince George County warned drivers that the roads were hazardous. The sheriff’s office in Fluvanna County said U.S. 15 was backed up because of multiple accidents, and 10 cars were involved in an accident on Union Mills Road.
A tree fell across Interstate 64 at Virginia 155 in New Kent County.
Colonial Williamsburg closed at 3:30 p.m. because of the storm.
Gov. Ralph Northam had declared a state of emergency Saturday and urged residents to prepare for the possibility of a wintry mix of snow, sleet, ice and rain over parts of western, central and northern Virginia.
“Virginians should take all necessary precautions to ensure they are prepared for winter weather storm impacts,” said Northam. “I am declaring a state of emergency to ensure localities and communities have appropriate assistance and to coordinate state response to possible snow and ice accumulations, transportation issues, and potential power outages.”
Northam noted that he has placed state agencies, including the Virginia Departments of Transportation and Emergency Management, and State Police, on alert.
Interstate 26 was closed overnight in both directions at the steep Saluda Grade after several semitractor trailers got stuck in the roadway, North Carolina’s Department of Transportation said. The interstate reopened about 5:30 a.m.
At a news conference Sunday, Gov. Cooper said part of U.S. 70 was closed after a semitrailer truck ran off the road and into the Neuse River near Kinston about 4 a.m. Sunday. WRAL reported that divers were looking for the truck driver all day Sunday.
Many other state and county roads were iced or snowed over in much of North Carolina.
Cooper said 11 shelters had been opened, most of them in the western part of the state.
Col. Glenn M. McNeill, commander of the State Highway Patrol, said troopers had responded to 509 collisions and 1,100 service calls since midnight Saturday.
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