US South Hit With Winter Storm, East Coast is Next

Atlanta residents dig out as storm system moves through Southern states to the Northeast.
3:00 | 02/12/14

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Transcript for US South Hit With Winter Storm, East Coast is Next
This is a special group. Report from -- -- Good afternoon anti Hernandez in New York but an ABC news digital special report. The latest winter blast is hitting this southern states making its way to the East Coast. Before heading north a quarter million homes and businesses in the south have no power right now after the storm left the region coated in snow and ice. And airlines canceled thousands of flights today creating travel headaches that spread across the country. ABC's Devin Dwyer is in Atlanta now tracking the storm that meteorologists say could be catastrophic hello death. -- -- that's right definitely catastrophic it's bearing down right now we're here at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. Home to the 1996 summer games but as you can see today it is a frozen waste land. The snow and ice here turning the south's biggest city. -- -- -- -- It's an icy slushy mess from Dallas to Atlanta and north to Charlotte region not used to such as serious wintry blast. Even under siege. Like snowing ice -- it's not really the soft snow that I'm used to it forecasters warned of the worst ice storm for the self in a decade. For using words like historic catastrophic. And crippling. But the worst yet to come. -- hopefully you are sheltering in place -- prepared for a long day for Atlanta it's a tale of two storms after that nightmare scenario two weeks ago. Today the city's largely deserted National Guard troops are at the ready overnight hundreds of utility vehicles prepared to triage downed trees and power lines. If there's downed power lines -- like -- synagogues. Move away from it. Across the region the roads have been dangerous and deadly. In North Carolina the snow and ice at some drivers it -- at least four people have been killed -- -- -- accidents in Texas two more in Mississippi. First responders across the self working around the clock. What's it like to be a patrol officer. In these kind of elements what is your job harder. Yeah this is -- -- -- -- slip to slam on the gravel plant now we have the slowed things. It's another devastating week for airlines and passengers. At the nation's busiest airport in Atlanta more than 15100 flights have been canceled with more than 2500. Scrapped nationwide. As the storm pushes north it'll keep flyers grounded dumping snow ice and freezing rain all the way up the northeast. Now those power outages are mount -- every hour here more than a quarter million across the south are now in the dark more than a 1151000. Here in Georgia alone all because of this tie this is a quarter inch thick ice it's coating everything here from the streets this is from the streets. And those power lines knocking out electricity time. Incredible -- how much worse are the power outages expects to get at this point or have they. Leveled off and are just trying to tackle in getting people back on the grid. Whether they're talking here about this being catastrophic event a lot of comparison to the last major ice storm hit Atlanta in 2000 that one. Knocked out power for about a half a million homes in businesses just in this state alone cost 35 million dollars. They're -- this storm -- be a lot worse as you mentioned they're using these words we don't normally hear full pat forecasters use at least these him sparingly. Catastrophic historic crippling we're still hearing them and as you can see the ice is still coming down is still a good bit of time left on this -- to -- -- And DeVon about the flight cancellations. So many of them which airlines are the hardest hit right now. It's brutal over -- at Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson affect the airport. We just got an update they are open for business there at the airport believe it or not about 300 flights getting out today. I've got more than 70%. Of -- -- canceled the airline's biggest affected of course Delta Airlines AirTran. Both -- based here in Atlanta base their operations here virtually shut down and delta told us this morning. That they had so many cancellations that some of their flight attendants who were stranded at the airport had to spend the night sleeping on some of their planes of course that gates. But just to give me an idea how much this place is frozen in lockdown people stranded everywhere time. -- Devin Dwyer in Atlanta thank you for joining us. In the heart of all that weather now let's bring in AccuWeather Heather Waldman and there. This last storm we talked about in the south got just two inches of snow and -- -- got pretty bad. If some video of the traffic situation that just that little bit of snow. Had created a lot of accidents there on the road people backed up for miles and miles. Let's talk about this storm in comparison to that because of that was bad I can imagine what this once and -- Yet that's right more ice and snow coming with this storm -- -- last week's storm may have been a bit of a saving grace for Atlanta. Sort of woke everybody up that made them realize hey we can get the winter weather -- so. The -- has lots of people in the Atlanta area did heed the warnings they are off the roads. The city does look like a bit of a ghost town now but we've got Arctic air meeting gulf moisture that's -- setting up for the sleeps. The freezing rain the heavy snow all of that in the southeast right now it's going to be moving into the mid Atlantic and northeast. They head into tonight and tomorrow but first we'll focus on the southeast heavy sleet and ice falling across much of northern Georgia Atlanta right now. That's -- some lighter freezing rain but don't let your guard down right now we've seen well over half an inch of ice accumulate on roads power lines trees you name it. And we still have some light precipitation continuing the heaviest in the Columbia, South Carolina where in the city we have reports of over an inch of ice on the ground. And just in the north and west we've seen accumulations of 345. Inches of snow. So absolutely -- mess here in South Carolina as you heard earlier. Power outages totaling in the hundreds of thousands and those are only going to be going up. We have through tonight unfortunately these there would be areas where we expect the ice to -- the most severe stretching from Atlanta again Colombia I just mentioned in including Fayetteville as well as rally. Through the rest of tonight we're talking ice accumulations. Well over half an interest got a lot of moisture with this system in unfortunately. A lot of cold air is meeting up with its and that means downed trees widespread power out these roads are going to be completely shut down. Actually governor deal in Georgia has ordered everybody to stay off the roadways in the Atlanta area unless they are part of emergency personnel and again a good thing a lot of people seem to heed that warning here's how things looked at the rest of this afternoon heavy rain continuing for much of the deep south the stronger thunderstorms. For the Florida Panhandle -- the Orlando and Tampa area's. One -- watch out for some gusty winds here this afternoon as well the icy mix. Continuing for areas farther off to the north Birmingham getting a little bit of snow mixing in later tonight Atlanta will as well. Heavier snow is going to start to pick up into the southern appalachians later on tonight -- Here's a better look at things on a snow totals map generally one to three inches here across northern Mississippi Alabama into Georgia again Atlanta. Getting in had a little bit of snow here later on tonight. And Kevin Willis tell -- going to flow. Sorry -- can you tell us about the storm moving north. Right so I was just getting to the snow totals here for the north the heaviest of the -- Going to move into the northeast as we head into tonight looks like Harrisburg. Up along -- west of the I 95 -- through all when he gets to see the heaviest of the snow for tonight. Here's how it looks on these snow totals maps where we see anywhere from twelve to eighteen inches from. Roanoke all the way up interstate 81 -- Harrisburg just in the north of Allentown through Albany as well. As well essential New England so it looks like an -- mass in addition -- heavy snow. We're also targeted by a potential he. For some localized blizzard conditions as well all right AccuWeather is Heather -- -- -- -- -- bunkered down for this one thank you so much for your report. And it has been an ABC's digital special report on the weather and coming snow when I peace time Hernandez in New York.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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