A massive storm brought snow, sleet and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday — causing dangerously icy roads and power losses to hundreds of thousands of people and immobilizing snowplows.
Crashes on snow-covered interstates resulted in major delays, 1,300 flights were canceled, and 240,000 customers were without power in North and South Carolina. Meanwhile, kids and the young at heart took advantage of the snow with snowball fights, sledding and making snowmen.
Police in North Carolina and Virginia said they'd responded to hundreds of snow-related crashes as of Sunday afternoon. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper strongly urged residents to stay off the roads, asking drivers not to put lives of first responders needlessly at risk. Cooper said emergency crews, including the National Guard, worked overnight to clear crashes on major roadways. "Stay put if you can," he said. "Wrap a few presents, decorate the tree, watch some football."
Five members of a dive team searched the Neuse River in Kinston, N.C., for a missing truck driver Sunday after a tractor-trailer ran off a road and into the river. Police just outside of Charlotte said a driver died when a tree fell on a moving vehicle.
Governors and local officials in several states declared emergencies ahead of the storm crossing several Southern states, which hit portions of North Carolina and Virginia particularly hard.
Virginia State Police said Interstate 81 in far southwest Virginia was especially dangerous, with snow coming down faster Sunday than crews could clear it. Police said tractor-trailers slid off roads.
Several schools districts in North Carolina and Virginia announced they would be closed Monday. "Virginians should take all necessary precautions to ensure they are prepared for winter weather storm impacts," said Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam.
Some areas of North Carolina and Virginia saw more than a foot of snow by Sunday afternoon. Lubbock, Texas, was buried by 11 inches.
The New York Times contributed to this report.