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.
People help push a stranded motorist stuck in deep snow on Stefko Boulevard, Feb. 13, 2014 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
A long line of travelers winds around the atrium at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport when operations return after the effects of a major winter storm halted flights for three days, Feb. 13, 2014, in Atlanta.
Cars are backed up as a van was stuck trying to get up a hill, Feb. 13, 2014 in Concord, New Hampshire.
A worker uses a snow blower to clear snow off the steps at Lincoln Center, the site of New York Fashion Week, in the Manhattan borough of New York, Feb. 13, 2014.
Julia Rea cross-country skis on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Feb. 13, 2014.
A young girl tosses snow from an Interstate 76 embankment as she and others play, Feb. 13, 2014, in Philadelphia.
Departures are canceled due to snow at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport, Feb. 13, 2014.
Marilyn Newton uses her cross-country skis as she travels through the snow in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 13, 2014 after a winter storm hit the area.
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Officers work to assist motorists as they attempt to drive up a hill that is covered in snow in Charlotte, North Carolina, Feb. 12, 2014.
Snow plows clear downtown lanes on Interstate 75/85 during a winter storm in Atlanta, Georgia, Feb. 12, 2014.
Stacks of icy snow are piled up outside a home after it was removed from a driveway in Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb. 12, 2014.
Emergency personnel secure a downed power line in Atlanta, Georgia, Feb. 12, 2014.
Fort Payne Improvement Authority workers work on lines that had become heavy with ice and were being blown around by high winds in Dog Town, Alabama, Feb. 12, 2014.
Tom Bladel works to push a stranded motorist back onto the road in Pineville, North Carolina, Feb. 12, 2014.
Almost empty shelves at a grocery store after people prepared for an ice storm in Lilburn outside Atlanta, Georgia, Feb. 12, 2014.
A snow plow knocks snow off the an Atlanta expressway during an ice storm in Atlanta, Georgia, Feb. 12, 2014.
Icicles hang from a statue of Jeff Cook of the band Alabama in Fort Payne, Alabama, Feb. 12, 2014.
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.