This is the sunny South?

Another 3 inches of snow blanketed northern Georgia early Tuesday on the heels of a wintry weekend of snow, ice and bone-chilling temperatures in much of the South and Midwest.

Temperatures in northern Georgia were forecast to peak in the 20s on Tuesday, with lows near 10 degrees _ and wind chills as low as zero. The snowfall was the region's second in three days.

``We generally don't get snow this early but we've been enjoying it,'' said Lewis Lane, who works at Sky Valley Ski Resort in northeast Georgia.

More cold and snow were also forecast Tuesday in neighboring Tennessee, where at least 28 of the state's 95 counties closed schools Monday. Several schools announced that they planned to stay closed Tuesday.

Elsewhere in the South, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee declared disaster areas in 41 counties nearly a week after what state officials said was the worst ice storm in state history. Some 40,000 homes were still without power Monday.

``I've just been quilting by the light of the window during the day and go to bed when it gets dark,'' said Kitty Watson, 73, whose home has been without electricity since last week. ``And my goodness, I must've gained 10 pounds in the past week cause you know, you bake when you're bored.''

In Alabama, freezing rain, snow and a second day of cold closed dozens of schools Monday and sent homeless to shelters across the state. The state was still recovering from weekend tornadoes that killed 12 people.

In Nebraska, blowing and drifting snow was expected to linger into Tuesday morning as the state continued to dig out from its fourth winter storm in a week.

Low visibility caused by blowing snow temporarily closed two Nebraska highways Monday night. Earlier, slick roads and poor visibility were blamed for a pileup involving five semitrailers, two cars and a snowplow. Only minor injuries resulted.

Up to 17 inches of snow were predicted for parts of Wisconsin by Tuesday, with lighter amounts expected in Minnesota, Illinois and Indiana.

``The last couple of years we haven't seen this kind of weather until January,'' Paul Lichte said as shoveled the sidewalk in front of his father's Madison, Wis., law office Monday. ``It's nice to have snow at Christmas, so this year we know for sure we'll have some.''

The storm was a nightmare for travelers. Nearly a quarter of the flights at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee were canceled or delayed Monday and more than 100 Northwest flights were delayed in and out of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

United canceled 72 of its 414 scheduled departures from O'Hare in Chicago; systemwide, the airline canceled 167 of its daily schedule of 2,300 flights because of the weather.

American Airlines canceled about 45 departures and arrivals, said spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan. But after last week's massive storms, the airline was confident it could handle a few more inches of snow.

``Three to five inches after 12 inches? We will deal with it,'' Fagan said. ``This is Chicago, and it snows here.''

Bad weather also delayed three Electoral College members from getting to the Minnesota Capitol in St. Paul. They later showed up in time to vote.

Winter weather was nowhere to be found in Southern California, where unseasonable heat combined with dry, windy weather to create prime conditions for wildfires. An arsonist torched a car early Monday morning, setting off a blaze that burned nearly 500 acres in the Los Padres National Forest, 35 miles northwest of Los Angeles.

The wildfire, and others that broke out Monday, caused no injuries or property damage. The region's dry, hot conditions were expected to persist for several days.

The warm weather was welcome news to Christine Lloyd, an Australian working at a restaurant in Malibu, Calif.

``I was out in the back yard, hosing off the pool chairs, in just shorts and T-shirt, having a great time,'' she said. ``Me being a Sydney girl, it's 80 degrees, it looks like a real Christmas to me.''


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