The Latest: TSA aims to cut wait times at Atlanta airport
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on winter weather in the South (all times local):
Officials at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta are hoping to avoid a repeat of wait times that exceeded an hour to get through security screening.
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was already dealing with weather-related delays Wednesday when passengers experienced the lengthy delays to get through the main checkpoint in the domestic terminal.
The Transportation Security Administration said some employees had been unable to get to the airport Wednesday due to dangerous road conditions and public transportation delays.
TSA spokesman Mark Howell said in a statement that the agency expects the situation to improve Thursday. He said several employees stayed at the airport overnight and that canines would be used to expedite the screening process.
The airport’s website showed wait times of less than 15 minutes at security checkpoints Thursday morning.
The snow has moved out of South Carolina but officials say driving conditions are still dangerous.
The National Weather Service issued a winter weather advisory Thursday for 28 counties in the central and northwestern parts of the state. Forecasters say black ice is a danger for drivers until late morning or midday.
A number of schools and local government offices were opening late Thursday.
Duke Energy reported about 1,900 customers without service Thursday morning. The biggest problems were in Spartanburg County. South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. had about 130 customers without service, almost all of them were in Dorchester County.
The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina reported about 2,500 customers without service. Most were in Chester and Fairfield counties.
South Carolina lawmakers called off their meetings Wednesday and Thursday.
Parts of Alabama are reopening following a two-day shutdown prompted by snow and ice, but much of the state remains in weather-related limbo.
The governor’s office says state offices will resume operations at noon Thursday, and some school systems in north and central Alabama are returning to class with delayed openings.
But many roads still have icy spots after another night of freezing temperatures, so other school systems and counties aren’t resuming normal operations until Friday. Virtually all of south Alabama remains closed.
Problems are worst in areas that had the most snow and ice, about 3 inches. But school and government shutdowns extend all the way south to the Gulf Coast.
Forecasters say high temperatures Thursday should range from the upper 30s to the low 40s, helping melt the remaining ice.
Metro Atlanta’s commuter rail system is operating on a limited schedule as the city continues to recover from a snow and ice storm that brought the region to a standstill.
The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority said in a statement that its rail lines would operate Thursday on the reduced schedule it offers on the weekends, with 20-minute intervals.
MARTA buses on Thursday were also offering limited service on major roads and those serving medical facilities.
The authority said early Thursday that it was assessing road conditions to identify more bus routes which could be resumed.
Temperatures early Thursday in Atlanta were well-below freezing. However, forecasters say they expect temperatures across the metro area to climb about freezing Thursday afternoon, melting some of the ice and snow on roadways.
The snow has stopped but travelers are being warned to watch for black ice on roads around the Carolinas.
A storm that swept across the South dumped up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow near Durham on Wednesday.
The National Weather Service has a winter weather advisory in effect for most of the Carolinas because of hazardous travel conditions, which were not expected to improve before midday Thursday.
Temperatures early Thursday in North Carolina ranged from 3 degrees (-16 Celsius) in western North Carolina to 28 degrees (-2 Celsius) along the Outer Banks. Forecasters said an advisory warning of the dangers of black ice was likely to be issued for Friday morning as well.
Duke Energy reported about 10,000 customers without service in the Carolinas. The biggest problem was near Chapel Hill.
The snow and ice prompted South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster to postpone his State of the State address Wednesday for one week. South Carolina lawmakers also took the rest of the week off.
Several Southern states will be dealing with the lingering effects of a slow-moving winter storm that dumped a half-foot (15 centimeters) of snow on North Carolina’s largest cities, dusted the Deep South and killed at least 10 people.
From Charlotte to Raleigh, North Carolina’s five most populous cities all saw significant snow from a system that followed an atypical west-to-east path across the state. By Wednesday afternoon, Winston-Salem, Greensboro and Durham each had more than 6 inches (15 centimeters), while some places saw as much as 10 inches (25 centimeters).
Drivers unaccustomed to ice spun their wheels across Atlanta, which was brought to a near-standstill by little more than an inch (2.5 centimeters) of snow.
After raking North Carolina, forecasters expected the system to move offshore. Snow tapered off across the state by late Wednesday.