A deadly winter storm that has coated much of the southeastern United States with ice is moving up the east coast, taking aim at the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Some cities can expect more than 30 centimeters of snow by the end of the day Thursday. Major school systems have already closed and residents are packing supermarkets to stock up on essentials.
The storm killed at least nine people as it pushed across the usually mild Southeast Wednesday, coating highways from Texas through the Carolinas with ice.
Many drivers in North Carolina, figuring it is safer to walk than drive, ignored authorities and abandoned their cars on the slick highways, causing a huge traffic jam.
Heavy ice has brought down trees and power lines, knocking out electricity to hundreds of thousands. Airlines canceled thousands of flights.
The National Weather Service called the storm "an event of historical proportions." Authorities say the wintry mix has caused two deaths in Mississippi and at least three in northern Texas.
The storm is expected to move north, up the eastern U.S. coast, Wednesday and Thursday.
More than 2,700 U.S. flights were canceled and hundreds more delayed early on Wednesday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware.com.
Businesses, schools and even the federal government is expected to close as weather conditions worsen. The White House announced Wednesday it has postponed a public event scheduled there tomorrow due to weather conditions.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the Federal Emergency Management Agency has dispatched crews across the southeast and has activated crews in the Washington region.
Government officials were quick to make plans to deal with the impact of the storm, following another two weeks ago that paralyzed Atlanta-area roads and forced more than 11,000 students in Alabama to spend the night at their schools.
Hundreds of schools and government offices across the South were closed on Wednesday, and power outages started to climb as the weather conditions that forecasters had warned about for days took shape.
About 59,000 Georgia Power customers were without power early on Wednesday. South Carolina emergency officials said about 4,000 residents in Aiken near the Georgia border were without power.
Some information for this story was provided by Reuters.