Southeast US digs out after winter storm pounding

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The southeastern U.S. was digging out Thursday from a barrage of winter weather that snarled traffic, cut power to hundreds of thousands and led to mass flight delays and cancellations.

Wet, heavy snow snapped tree limbs and cut power lines in North Carolina, Reuters reported, leaving more than 200,000 Duke Energy customers without electricity at one point. Nearly a foot of snow had fallen in parts of Alabama, combining with slush and ice to make for treacherous travel.

A volunteer who works with the National Weather Service measured 11 inches of snow in the Guntersville area in the morning. Authorities said 8.5 inches of snow fell in the Athens area, with similar amounts reported in other towns and cities across northern Alabama.

A wide area of north Alabama was essentially shut down because of dangerous travel conditions caused by the snow, and the snow left slushy ice atop multiple roads north of Birmingham to the Tennessee line.

Dozens of school districts announced closings or delays for Friday, reported.

Meanwhile, in Tennessee, flood warnings remained in effect late Thursday for Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Lauderdale and Obion counties in the northwestern part of the state, The Commercial Appeal reported.

In total, nearly 5,500 flights were delayed in the U.S., with nearly 1,700 being canceled, many of which were spread out across the southeastern U.S., according to the website

By late Thursday, however, much of the inclement weather had passed out to the Atlantic, though large parts of North Carolina remained under a winter weather advisory, the National Weather Service said. But forecasters were predicting the eastern half of the United States to enter into another period of arctic temperatures of 10 to 30 degrees below normal by Saturday. But aside from some thunderstorms predicted for southern Florida, the southeast was expected to remain dry for the next few days.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.