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Ice storm encases parts of the South

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published February 12, 2014 at 7:31 a.m. Updated February 12, 2014 at 11:33 a.m.

sparse-traffic-makes-its-way-on-the-interstate-7585-connector-just-south-of-downtown-atlanta-wednesday-morning-feb-12-2014-a-combination-of-sleet-snow-and-freezing-rain-was-expected-to-coat-power-lines-and-tree-branches-with-more-than-an-inch-of-ice-between-atlanta-and-augusta

Sparse traffic makes its way on the Interstate 75/85 connector just south of downtown Atlanta, Wednesday morning, Feb. 12, 2014. A combination of sleet, snow and freezing rain was expected to coat power lines and tree branches with more than an inch of ice between Atlanta and Augusta.

ATLANTA — An ice storm gripped the winter-weary South on Wednesday, knocking out power to a wide swath of the region as the outages nearly doubled by the hour, and forecasters warned the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm was yet to come.

From Texas to the Carolinas and the South's business hub in Atlanta, roads were slick, businesses and schools were closed and people hunkered down for the storm. Just hours into it, sleet, snow and freezing rain had encased tree limbs, sending them crashing on to power lines. More than 100,000 homes and businesses were without power and the number steadily increased. Forecasters warned relief with higher temperatures wasn't expected until Thursday.

Officials and forecasters in several states used unusually dire language in warnings, and they agreed that the biggest concern was ice, which could knock out power for days. Winds, with gusts up to 30 mph in parts of Georgia, exacerbated problems.

Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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