More than 20 million people from Texas to the Carolinas are under winter weather alerts with a mix of snow and ice on the way

Forecasts for a treacherous mix of snow and ice has put more than 20 million people under winter weather alerts from Texas to the Carolinas.

The double-whammy threat prompted the governors of North and South Carolina and Virginia to issue states of emergency. Overall, the alerts cover a wide swathe that includes southern Texas, southern Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, western Florida, Virginia and the Carolinas.

Several school districts in the Carolinas decided to move to virtual learning on Friday and canceled activities in anticipation of the ice-snow storm, CNN affiliate WYFF reported. Some districts cited low temperatures and icy roads that could make traveling unsafe.

The ice storm warning for portions of the coastal Carolinas went into effect at midnight and is expected to remain in place through noon Saturday.

Widespread ice accumulation is expected in Wilmington, North Carolina, with some areas possibly seeing up to half an inch, according to CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford.

“Power outages are very likely in the ice storm warning areas,” Shackelford said.

The region is also bracing for heavy snowfall this weekend. Warnings issued for parts of North Carolina and Virginia predict 1 to 4 inches of snow, with some areas seeing up to 6 inches. Wind gusts may also reach 40 mph.

In Charleston, South Carolina, the main threat is freezing rain with ice accumulations up to a light glaze, Shackelford said. For North Carolina, there could be slightly more snow, with totals potentially reaching 2 inches, and ice accumulation remaining a light glaze, he added.

For Texas, wind chill and winter storm warnings are in effect through Friday afternoon, Shackelford said.

Temperatures across parts of Texas were expected to plummet, from Wednesday’s highs of 70s and 80s to below freezing Thursday night into Friday, with the chance of a wintry mix.

“Widespread temps in the 30s are now being observed across coastal counties, spreading westward. As temps continue to steadily drop through the night, freezing temps won’t be reached until after 12AM,” the National Weather Service office in Brownsville tweeted Thursday.

Because of icing, travel and power outages remain the biggest concerns.

In North Carolina, Gov. Roy Cooper warned that southeastern counties could see widespread outages and treacherous roads.

“That’s where a quarter-inch or more of ice is expected on trees and powerlines, and that’s a recipe for power outages, unfortunately,” Cooper said Thursday in a news conference as he encouraged people to stock up on groceries.

Cooper added that his National Guard has been activated, providing 114 soldiers with equipment including high clearance vehicles, trucks and ambulances.

The latest weather disturbance comes nearly a week after a snowstorm slammed the Southeast, leaving more than 130,000 people in the dark across the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland. Ice was also a major threat as hundreds of car crashes were reported.

In anticipation of hazardous roads, the South Carolina Department of Transportation said it’s prepared to work around the clock to ensure drivers’ safety. Still, the department urged people to stay off the roads.


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