Winter storm blankets East Coast day after socking South

At least 21 deaths reported from stormy weather that has affected 22 states from Texas to Maine in two days

A crippling and deadly winter storm that battered the South with a combination of sleet, snow and ice a day earlier, causing more than 700,000 power outages, moved up the East Coast overnight into Thursday and blanketed cities across the Northeast. A state of emergency was declared in several states, including New Jersey and New York. 

At least 21 deaths across the country have been blamed on the weather, which affected 22 states from Texas to Maine.

On Thursday, power companies in the path of the storm were dealing with or bracing for another round of outages. The storm has caused more than 245,000 outages in South Carolina, 230,000 in Georgia and 180,000 in North Carolina, NBC News reported. More than 200,000 households and businesses in the Atlanta area alone were waiting for the electricity to come back on at one point on Thursday.

Drivers in and around Raleigh, N.C., became snarled Wednesday in huge traffic jams and abandoned cars in scenes reminiscent of motorist woes in Atlanta during a storm two weeks earlier.

In Atlanta, many streets were quiet, with drivers heeding dire warnings to stay off the roads. State troopers said they worked more than 200 crashes in Georgia.

Snow was forecast to stop falling and temperatures to rise in most of the state by late morning, but ice remained a concern, with refreezing possible overnight and into Friday. 

For the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, the heavy weather was the latest in a drumbeat of storms that have depleted cities' salt supplies and caused school systems to run out of snow days.

The sloppy mix of snow and face-stinging sleet grounded more than 6,500 flights and closed schools and businesses as it made its way up the heavily populated Interstate 95 corridor, where shoveling out has become a weekly — sometimes twice-weekly — chore.

"Snow has become a four-letter word," lamented Tom McGarrigle, a politician in suburban Philadelphia.

Baltimore awoke to 15 inches of snow. Washington, D.C., had at least 8, and federal offices and the city's two main airports were closed. The Virginia-West Virginia state line got more than a foot.

Philadelphia had nearly 9 inches, its fourth 6-inch snowstorm of the season — the first time that has happened in the city since record-keeping began in the late 1800s. New York City received nearly 10 inches, and parts of New Jersey had more than 11.

Al Jazeera and The Associated Press

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