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Deadly Snowstorm Sweeps Up East Coast

December 5, 2002

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A deadly winter storm that glazed roadways, closed schools and left thousands of people without power moved its way north Thursday, threatening to dump several inches of snow on cities along the East Coast.

``It’s a rapidly moving storm and it looks like the whole East Coast south of New York could be affected,″ said meteorologist Donato Cacciapaglia with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va.

The storm spread freezing rain and up to a foot of snow from the Texas Panhandle to Virginia on Wednesday. More than 100,000 people lost power, and slippery roads were blamed in at least six traffic deaths, including two each in Kentucky and Missouri and one each in Tennessee and North Carolina.

The blustery weather in the South was expected to taper off Thursday as temperatures warm, but officials warned residents to remain cautious.

``The best thing for people to do is stay inside, off the roads and out of harm’s way,″ North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley said late Wednesday.

The Carolinas were among the hardest hit by the storm. More than 350 wrecks were reported and more than 100,000 students were sent home early in the Charlotte area. South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges told state agency heads to let workers go home early in 22 counties ahead of the storm.

The Blue Ridge Parkway was shut down in North Carolina as a foot of snow piled up in some areas. Fort Campbell, the army post along the Kentucky-Tennessee line, closed down.

``Man, it’s cold. That wind’s been blowing steady,″ said Greg Conner, 35, a construction worker working on a new hospital in Nashville, Tenn. A solid sheet of ice covered part of the construction site.

Other states witnessed a rash of accidents as drivers fell victim to slick roads.

``We’ve got wrecks everywhere,″ said Sgt. D.A. Shaver, spokesman for the Virginia State Police.

Mason Modglin, 5, of Anna, Ill., got his ``first official snow day,″ said his mother, Jean Modglin.

``He told me, ’Mom, I looked outside with my little eyes and it was all white!‴ said Modglin, who manages a bookstore.

Hardware stores and supermarkets were reporting brisk sales as people prepared for the worst.

``It’s been a little wild,″ said Wayne Broyles, owner of an Earl’s True Value Hardware store in Fredericksburg, Va. ``It put a smile on my face.″

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On the Net:

National Weather Service: http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov

Intellicast: http://www.intellicast.com

University of Michigan site: http://cirrus.sprl.umich.edu/wxnet

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