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article imageIce storm holds East Coast hostage, again

By Scott Sawitz     Feb 13, 2014 in Environment
New York - Just when folks on the East Coast thought things could not get any worse this winter, Mother Nature proved them wrong with a blast of cold, ice and snow. Add to that, predictions of a longer winter.
The ever faithful Punxsutawney Phil, soothsayer of winter’s end, reportedly saw his shadow. The results: six more weeks of winter. Winters like this have not been seen for many years. Yes, the Northeast does get cold and snowy, but not to this extent. Ask a Southerner what they think, and they will have a different story to tell.
The South has been ravaged with extremely cold temperatures, a relentless series of ice storms and snow to top it all off. Just this week, Atlanta was paralyzed in nearly an inch of ice, while Raleigh and Charlotte suffocated under a blanket of snow reaching almost 10 inches - conditions unheard of in these cities.
Schools and businesses across the South shut down due to lack of infrastructure to keep roads clear and safe and to avoid the traffic mayhem that occurred just a few weeks earlier. “Stay home if you can,” advises North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety.
Not only has the Southeast been paralyzed in terms of mobility and day to day functions, they are without power as well. Over half a million people across the Southeast awoke Thursday morning to darkness and cold as a result of no electricity.
The calamity is heightened by downed lines and trees, making it difficult for streets to get cleared which in turn hampers efforts of utility companies attempting to fix those power lines. It’s become a vicious circle. However, utilities are urging residents and businesses to bear with them and that power will slowly get restored.
Local governments along the eastern seaboard have posted information and advice for customers and the general public on steps to take to ensure people can ride out the debilitating weather before it hits. The entire region has been bombarded with so much bad weather they have caught on to what should be done before the fact to make getting through it less tragic.
The storm has now made its way up to the northeastern corner of our country, and has prompted shutdown of several federal offices and schools. Flights have also been cancelled, in advance, to prevent travelers from the West from getting stuck on the East coast.
Amtrak schedules were reduced on Thursday and experienced some delays, “but nothing significant,” according to spokesman Steve Kulm. As the storm moved its way up the seaboard, it left its pure and simple blanket of serenity along the way, forcing folks to slow down, and if possible, stop.
Winter like this has not been seen or heard of before. Not only has it been a long one, it has been a heavy one as well, burdening the country with temperatures far below normal, snowfall far above averages and a frequency that was equally as relentless. People chalk it up to global warming while others just don’t know what to think. Whatever the cause, let's hope Mother Nature is ready to take a nap.
A deadly winter storm brought heavy snow  freezing rain and a possibly historic accumulation of ice ...
A deadly winter storm brought heavy snow, freezing rain and a possibly historic accumulation of ice to the southeastern United States on Wednesday, February 12, 2014, causing hundreds of thousands of power outages and treacherous driving conditions, meterologists said
© Reuters / Chris Keane
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