The effects of winter continue to plague the country with heavy snowstorms, making lives difficult and the weather colder than usual. While the east coast has been suffering from series of winter blasts, the storms overtaking the southern states have caused power outages in a wide-spread area.
In Georgia, at least a thousand households lost power and were forced to stay home, "leaving usually jam-packed interstates looking like a sci-fi wasteland, as an eerie calm settled over desolate streets slick with ice," according to NBC News.
Over 230,000 homes and business in Georgia were without electricity on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Georgia's main supplier of electricity. Electricity has since been restored in most areas.
In North Carolina, motor vehicle drivers face extreme delays in many of the states' highway routes. The state's biggest and busiest city, Charlotte, also has severe traffic jams, and car collisions on its busiest highway Interstate 277 further worsen the problem.
A number of deaths have been reported as result of power outages and traffic accidents. In Georgia, two people were found dead in their homes after a power outage, which they were not able to turn on the heat to keep warm. In Texas, four separate accidents left four fatalities on the highways and two more deaths were reported in Mississippi from separate accidents. The Georgia State Patrol also reported 129 crashes that left 19 people injured on Wednesday from between 2 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. No deaths have been reported yet.
The winter snowstorms have also caused delays and cancellation of thousands of flights to these states. "More than 3,400 flights into and out of U.S. airports were canceled and 3,500 more were delayed - the vast majority of them at the Atlanta and Charlotte hubs," reports NBC. The alternate route of traveling through train has also proved to be unsuccessful as train services like mtrak cancelled 10 train routes from Georgia to Florida, deeming travel too dangerous for passengers.
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The snowstorms are being called a "catastrophic event" by the National Weather Service and failing power outages may continue "for days and perhaps as long as a week." Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley has called for a Federal Emergency Declaration. "It is more precautionary by nature," stated Gov. Haley in a press conference. "It's just in case we need anything.... it is more of making sure we are ahead of the curve."
The southern part of the country are affected the most by the storms. According to Tim Doggett, senior principal scientist at catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, said, "These impacts are magnified in the South, where the infrastructure is not in place to respond quickly to these storms."
The snow storms are expected to continue throughout this week and the estimated costs from the winter blast nationwide from December are totalling up to $15 billion in the economy.
The Red Cross is offering a free app called Shelter Finder to provide information on when and where shelthers have been opened to provide assistance. It is available in the iTunes store and works on iOS devices. The Shelter Finder displays open Red Cross shelters and their current population on an easy to use map interface.