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Virginia and the Carolinas under states of emergency as a snow and ice event arrives

<i>AP</i><br/>Virginia and the Carolinas are under states of emergency as a snow and ice event arrives.
AP
AP
Virginia and the Carolinas are under states of emergency as a snow and ice event arrives.

By Jason Hanna and Aya Elamroussi, CNN

A treacherous wintry mix including freezing rain and snow is set to hit parts of Virginia and North and South Carolina from Friday into Saturday, moving the governors of those states declare emergencies as forecasters anticipate poor travel conditions and power outages.

A coastal swath of the Carolinas in particular — including Myrtle Beach and Wilmington — is under the greatest icing threat. Freezing rain Friday night into Saturday could lead to ice accumulations of more than a quarter-inch around there, the National Weather Service said.

“(That) would cause significant impact to travel, along with stress to trees and power lines,” the service’s office in Wilmington wrote.

Ice and snow are expected to accumulate in parts of all three states. Snow is expected to be heaviest — perhaps 4 inches or more — from central North Carolina into southeastern Virginia, including Raleigh, Virginia Beach and Norfolk. Wind gusts may also reach 40 mph.

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

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 power lines, 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 the state’s National Guard has been activated, providing 114 soldiers with equipment including high clearance vehicles, trucks and ambulances.

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.

Like his counterparts in the Carolinas, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared an emergency for his commonwealth to free resources to address “potentially high snow accumulations, transportation issues, and the potential for power outages,” he said.

“I urge all Virginians to monitor their local weather forecasts and take personal safety precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of their families,” Youngkin said Thursday.

This 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.

Ice also collecting in frigid parts of the Gulf Coast

Arctic air has also pushed into Gulf Coast states, leading to freezing rain and icing Friday morning in parts of southern and eastern Texas, Louisiana, and coastal Mississippi and Alabama.

Cities including Brownsville, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama, were getting icing that could cause difficult travel conditions through noon Friday, forecasters said.

Temperatures across parts of Texas have plummeted, from Wednesday’s highs of 70s and 80s to below freezing Thursday night into Friday.

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CNN’s Judson Jones and Dave Hennen contributed to this report.

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