Winter Storm Hits Southeast as Residents Prepare for Ice Storm

A winter storm rushed across the Southeast Thursday, closing schools and grounding flights a day after coating roads with deadly ice in the Plains.

A winter storm warning covered the western Carolinas and northern Georgia on Thursday afternoon, and more than 4 inches of snow fell in spots.

By the time most people headed to work in central South Carolina, snowflakes had turned to a cold, steady rain.

"I'm scared to drive just when it's raining," said Marie Davis, 68, of Columbia, S.C. "The bad part is the other people. They drive like crazy."

Photo Essay: Click here for photos of the winter storm

Schools and businesses across the region closed or opened late, more than 2,000 homes and businesses lost power in western North Carolina, and flights were canceled in the Carolinas.

Oklahoma, meanwhile, grappled with a second, trailing storm that kept roads slick and dangerous.

"We made it through rush hour this morning pretty good, but the roads are getting pretty tricky," Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Chris West said late Thursday morning.

The first storm dropped snow and freezing drizzle on the area Wednesday, causing dozens of accidents and four deaths in Oklahoma, including an emergency medical technician who died Thursday, hours after the ambulance she was riding in ran off the road. A fifth woman died Wednesday in Arkansas when her vehicle slid across a highway median and crashed with a tractor-trailer.

The pair of storms followed a three-day storm that hit Oklahoma beginning Jan. 12, causing caused 32 deaths and leaving more than 120,000 homes and businesses without power across eastern Oklahoma.