A major winter storm is headed toward the South, leading four states so far to declare states of emergency. The storm system has already dumped several inches of snow on the central United States and is set to make its way toward the southeast Saturday into Sunday morning, leading to what CNN reports will be a "crippling ice and snow event." The storm is then expected to move north toward the mid-Atlantic and Northeast corridor, with rain, sleet, and freezing rain added into the mix, tripping up travel plans across a wide swath of the East Coast over the three-day holiday weekend.
"Significant amounts of ice accumulations will make travel dangerous or impossible. Travel is strongly discouraged," notes a National Weather Service alert out of Greenville, SC. ABC News reports that 3 to 6 inches of snow may accumulate in certain sections of the South, with up to 18 inches in the mountain areas of Virginia and the Carolinas. Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee are also expected to get socked.
So far, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina have all declared states of emergency, and government officials, highway crews, and residents are now scrambling to prepare. The AP notes that locals are rushing to grocery and hardware stores to try to stock up on food and other essentials. "We're selling everything you might expect: sleds, but also salt, shovels, and firewood," the owner of a hardware store in Abbeville, SC, tells the news outlet, noting he hasn't seen a run on his business like this in at least two winters. "People are worried." (Read more winter storm stories.)