Southeast Snowed In; Georgia, Carolinas Brace

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A winter storm dumping snow, sleet and ice on the Southeast is being blamed for at least two deaths in Georgia.

The storm could dump up to four inches of the wintry mix across the region and may cause massive power outages.

Freezing rain began on falling on Georgia last night and has already caused a handful of accidents. That's forced officials to shut down parts of several interstates in the Atlanta area.

Meantime, utility and road crews are preparing for the worst in the Carolinas.

Crews there began salting and sanding roads last night. And electric companies have made preparations for expected power outages and damage to power lines.

Light sleet began falling over north Georgia on Friday afternoon as an ice storm that threatened to disrupt flights and road travel gradually approached the area.

Georgia Department of Transportation crews rested up Friday to work through the night, after spending the day spraying down bridges and overpasses with a liquid de-icer, said spokeswoman Karlene Barron.

Transportation officials warned drivers to slow down on the roads during the storm and be especially careful if they see DOT work trucks on the road because that likely means treacherous conditions nearby.

"Most importantly, if you don't have to be out, then don't be out," Barron said.

Delta Air Lines and AirTran officials said some flights scheduled for Friday evening and Saturday have been canceled or consolidated.

AirTran canceled three flights for late Friday evening and another 22 for Saturday morning, said spokeswoman Judy Graham-Weaver.

Similarly, Delta has reduced an undisclosed number of flights and are working to keep aircraft outside of the storm-affected areas, said spokesman Anthony L. Black.

"We are proactively contacting customers to rebook their travel itineraries. There will be no fees penalties to change flights," Black said.

The weather also could cause power outages. If the predictions hold up, Georgia Power expects that "several hundred-thousand" homes and businesses could temporarily lose power, said spokeswoman Carol Boatright.

"We're moving crews from the southern part of the state up to the Atlanta and Augusta areas to be prepared," she said.

In addition to the 70 workers arriving from the Valdosta and Brunswick areas, which are not expected to be affected by the icy weather, the utility also has put its middle Georgia crews, as well as other power companies, on standby for additional trucks and support, Boatright said.

McMullen said the freezing temperatures are expected to linger over north Georgia through Sunday, when it will warm up into the 40s and stay that way through next week.