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Rare Winter Storm Hits US Southeast

Pedestrians cross over the icy Peachtree Street in Atlanta, 01 Jan 2011

A large winter storm is moving across the southeastern United States, forcing the cancellation of thousands of flights at one of the world's busiest airports in Atlanta, Georgia.

The airlines AirTran and Delta, the latter of which is based in Atlanta, were among those canceling flights to and from the southern city on Monday.

The governors of the states of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee declared states of emergency Monday, as roads already blocked by snow began to be coated with ice.

A number of roads were closed and many schools canceled classes in the region, which rarely sees intense winter weather.

Northern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia got as much as 15 centimeters of snow. Thousands of homes lost power and the city of Atlanta was forced to shut down its bus service for the day.

The weather system is expected to turn north in the next day or two, possibly bringing more snow and ice to the U.S. northeast, which was blanketed by heavy snow in late December.