CHARLOTTE, North Carolina: The eastern United States was hit by a severe winter storm on January 16, packing heavy snow, ice and gale-force winds, while tornadoes rolled out of the Midwest and continued to wreak devastation across the country.
Tens of thousands of people in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida were without power, and highway patrols reported hundreds of vehicle accidents, while a tornado ripped through a trailer park in Florida.
According to the tracking website flightaware.com, more than 1,200 flights at Charlotte Douglas International airport were cancelled, over 90 percent of the airport's weekend schedule.
Southern cities were on alert, with Nashville predicting to see up to 3 inches of snow, and other parts of Tennessee a foot of snow, while the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, were covered with snow, and the National Weather Service warned of potential snow accumulations of 2 to 7 inches in parts of the state.
"Power outages and tree damage are likely due to the ice. Travel could be nearly impossible," the service said.
Accuweather reported lightning was detected during heavy snowfall in North Carolina, adding that some of the state was covered by a foot of snow.
First Sgt. Christopher Knox of the North Carolina Highway Patrol said by mid-afternoon police had responded to 300 car crashes and nearly 800 calls for assistance.
Also, two people, both 41-year-old South Carolina residents, died when their car drove off the road and into trees in Raleigh, North Carolina. They were pronounced dead at the scene of the single-vehicle crash.
Investigators believe the car was driving too fast for the conditions, described as mixed winter precipitation, Knox said.