The Latest: After ice, some Louisiana interstates still shut
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on winter weather in the South (all times local):
Louisiana is struggling to dig out of an unusual blast of winter weather that shuttered interstates, burst pipes and closed schools and government offices.
Every interstate in Baton Rouge remained closed Thursday morning, including Interstates 10 and 12, which were blocked to motorists across the southeastern stretch of the state.
The transportation department hopes sunshine and above-freezing temperatures will help thaw the icy thoroughfares.
State offices remained closed in 34 of Louisiana’s 64 parishes, along with Louisiana State University, because of worries about hazardous road conditions. LSU officials say they’ll have to change the academic calendar to make up classes missed.
Residents were asked to conserve electricity or face possible rolling outages, and people in some parishes were told to turn off or boil water because of low pressure.
Officials have identified an 8-month-old infant who died after a vehicle slid into a drainage canal in Louisiana.
According to Jefferson Parish Coroner Dr. Gerry Cvitanovich, Kollage Le-Silva was identified as the child who died after the vehicle he was riding in slid into a drainage canal Wednesday.
News outlets report the infant was pronounced dead at a hospital, while the child’s mother was still hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.
Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman Glen T. Boyd says the woman was heading westbound when authorities said she lost control of her vehicle.
Authorities say the mother and the child were pulled out of the vehicle, but both were unconscious.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation, but the sheriff’s office suspects ice on the roadway contributed to it.
A minivan overturning into an eastern North Carolina canal marks what Gov. Roy Cooper calls the state’s first reported weather-related fatality from the winter storm.
The state Highway Patrol says the minivan’s driver died Thursday morning when the vehicle ran off an icy and snowy road and into the canal in Washington County, 130 miles (210 kilometers) east of Raleigh. Troopers were investigating.
The death reinforced Cooper’s call during a morning briefing for people to stay off the roads while crews plow them, and warned thoroughfares would be dangerously icy again Thursday night and Friday morning. Troopers have investigated more than 2,300 collisions and received 3,500 calls for services.
Cooper said about 9,000 homes and businesses were without power Thursday morning. Several inches of snow were reported across the state, with close to 1 foot (0.3 meter) in some areas.
Residents in much of New Orleans awoke to news that they should boil tap water before drinking it.
Thursday’s boil advisory is the latest complication from severe winter weather.
The city’s Sewerage and Water Board began reporting drops in water pressure in some areas Wednesday, when a brief thaw revealed that pipes had burst on numerous properties during an overnight hard freeze.
Water spewing from broken pipes is believed to have caused pressure to drop significantly. The advisory affects water customers on the east bank of the Mississippi river.
The advisory comes as customers of Entergy utilities were being urged to conserve electricity due to high demand. Parts of Interstate 10 in and around New Orleans are still shut down. A thaw was expected to begin late Thursday morning.
Airlines have canceled another 200 flights at Atlanta’s airport — the world’s busiest — and dozens of other flights at another major U.S. airport in North Carolina as the South continues to recover from a snow and ice storm.
The flight tracking service FlightAware reports that 204 Thursday flights have been canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. That comes after more than 700 flights were canceled Wednesday.
Atlanta is one of the nation’s most important air travel hubs and is the home airport of Delta Air Lines.
FlightAware reports that 85 flights have been canceled Thursday at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, a major hub for American Airlines.
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.