RALEIGH, N.C. —Snow, sleet and freezing rain wreaked havoc across the South on Thursday, causing hundreds of accidents, three fatal, and forcing schools to start late, close early, or cancel classes altogether.
Three people died in separate weather-related crashes in North Carolina. Thousands of people there and in Virginia lost power, and West Virginia's acting governor was forced to cancel a Christmas party scheduled for Thursday night at the governor's mansion.
In metro Atlanta and north Georgia, icy conditions Thursday morning prompted road closures a day after slick surfaces caused hundreds of accidents. Temperatures had warmed and the ice had melted by midday.
Ice also covered roads early Thursday in Louisville, Ky., and parts of Tennessee. Those who ventured out had to allow time to clear ice that coated nearly everything, from cars to walkways to the sides of buildings.
"I'm just chipping away," said Tim Olson of Louisville, who was getting the ice off his truck Thursday morning. "It looks slick. I hope it isn't too bad."
In Missouri, the freezing rain began Wednesday night and continued into Thursday morning, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol reporting numerous accidents.
In Ohio, plows were out in counties near the Ohio River. A spokeswoman for Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport said airlines were experiencing weather delays and cancellations. Cincinnati schools were closed because of warnings about slick roads.
"Although it's unusual to have to call off school because of wintry conditions this early in the school year, student safety always comes first," said superintendent Mary Ronan.
Meanwhile, snow was also falling or expected in Philadelphia and parts of New York state.
Western New York was getting a respite from heavy lake-effect snow storms but forecasters said central parts of the state would get pounded for another day. Weather-related accidents shut down I-81 northbound in the Syracuse area for more than two hours, state police said.