Carolinas Get Ice, Snow, Power Outages

Freezing rain and snow coated parts of the Carolinas on Sunday, knocking out power to thousands of customers and making highways slippery for after-Christmas shoppers.

A layer of ice one-quarter to one-half of an inch thick weighed down branches and power lines in South Carolina's Midlands and Pee Dee regions.

Progress Energy (search) spokeswoman Julie Hans said 18,000 homes and businesses had no electricity in Florence and Hartsville, and South Carolina Electric and Gas said 7,100 of its customers were blacked out, mostly in the southeast area of Columbia.

Up to 4 inches of snow had fallen by late morning in North Carolina's eastern Piedmont and northern Coastal Plain (search).

The North Carolina Highway Patrol troop covering 14 central counties received reports of 180 accidents between midnight and about 10 a.m., more than five times the normal total for a regular Sunday, said patrol spokeswoman Patty McQuillan.

One person was killed in a traffic accident on an icy North Carolina highway, the patrol said.

However, the cold and slippery roads didn't keep malls from opening in the Raleigh, N.C., area for shoppers looking for after-holiday bargains.

"We have the die-hard shoppers that are hitting the after-Christmas sales," said Pam Shaffer with Triangle Towne Center in north Raleigh. "It looks like they have a lot of bags in their hands."