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Weather

Ice storm cripples US southern states

Residents in the southeastern United States are bracing for more than an inch of ice and several inches of snow. So far the storm has knocked out power across several states and caused nationwide flight cancellations.

Ice covered large swathes of the United States' southeast on Wednesday, a region generally associated with mild, sunny winters. Residents from Texas to North Carolina braced as forecasters warned of another inch (2.54 centimeters) of ice expected, combined with snowfall in some areas as the storm move north toward the Mid-Atlantic region.

"The ice accumulations remain mind-boggling, if not historical," the National Weather Service said on Wednesday.

At least nine people have died in traffic accidents blamed on the winter weather.

In contrast to snowfall that left thousands stranded in Atlanta last week, residents remained at home on Wednesday, avoiding the city's notoriously busy commuter highways.

The storm has also caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose power. At least 130,000 homes and businesses in Georgia and its neighboring state South Carolina reported electricity outages on Wednesday.

Power companies worked swiftly to tackle the problem of branches hanging close to power lines, a common sight in the lush southern states where ice rarely weighs down trees and therefore rarely threatens to cause power outages.

Planes remained grounded across the country, as well, with the winter weather causing over 3,000 cancellations. More were expected on Thursday.

Early forecasts estimated that Washington, D.C. and New York City could get between six and eight inches of snow as the storm moved northward out of the south east .

kms/ch (AP, AFP)