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Deadly US ice storm moves north-east after paralyzing south and killing 12 people

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Snow plows clear Interstate 75/85 on the downtown connector while transportation and business grinds to a halt during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta.  Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

Snow plows clear Interstate 75/85 on the downtown connector while transportation and business grinds to a halt during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

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SUMMERVILLE, SC - FEBRUARY 12:  A tree is coated in ice outside a home after a rare winter ice storm swept across the South February 12, 2014 in Summerville, South Carolina. More than 400,000 customers have lost power across the Southeast and at least 13 deaths caused by the storm.  (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

SUMMERVILLE, SC - FEBRUARY 12: A tree is coated in ice outside a home after a rare winter ice storm swept across the South February 12, 2014 in Summerville, South Carolina. More than 400,000 customers have lost power across the Southeast and at least 13 deaths caused by the storm. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

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DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 12: Traffic on Durham Freeway 147 creeps along as compacted snow turns into ice on February 12, 2014 in Durham, North Carolina. Snow fell hard and fast in central North Carolina, resulting in abandoned cars and vehicular accidents by mid-afternoon. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)because

DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 12: Traffic on Durham Freeway 147 creeps along as compacted snow turns into ice on February 12, 2014 in Durham, North Carolina. Snow fell hard and fast in central North Carolina, resulting in abandoned cars and vehicular accidents by mid-afternoon. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)because

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Pedestrians use umbrellas as they walk through falling snow in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. Snow and sleet are falling on the East Coast from North Carolina to New England a day after sleet, snow and ice bombarded the Southeast. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

Pedestrians use umbrellas as they walk through falling snow in the Chinatown neighborhood of New York, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. Snow and sleet are falling on the East Coast from North Carolina to New England a day after sleet, snow and ice bombarded the Southeast. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

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Snow arcs in the air as it is removed from the driveway at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. After pummeling wide swaths of the South, a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in Washington as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Snow arcs in the air as it is removed from the driveway at the White House in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014. After pummeling wide swaths of the South, a winter storm dumped nearly a foot of snow in Washington as it marched Northeast and threatened more power outages, traffic headaches and widespread closures for millions of residents. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

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Nine-year-old Katie Swayne, right, throws snow into the air as her brother Bradley, 6, shovels a path in front of their house while the snow continues to fall in Winston-Salem, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Winston-Salem Journal, Lauren Carroll)

Nine-year-old Katie Swayne, right, throws snow into the air as her brother Bradley, 6, shovels a path in front of their house while the snow continues to fall in Winston-Salem, N.C., Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Winston-Salem Journal, Lauren Carroll)

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An American flag is bent over and draped in ice on Desoto Parkway atop Lookout Mountain, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Fort Payne, Ala. Forecasters said northeast Alabama could receive more than 6 inches of snow atop a half-foot that fell on Tuesday, and metro Birmingham could get as much as 3 inches by Thursday. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)

An American flag is bent over and draped in ice on Desoto Parkway atop Lookout Mountain, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Fort Payne, Ala. Forecasters said northeast Alabama could receive more than 6 inches of snow atop a half-foot that fell on Tuesday, and metro Birmingham could get as much as 3 inches by Thursday. (AP Photo/Hal Yeager)

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Pedestrians help a motorist after her car ends up facing the wrong way while trying to make it up the hill on Hawthorne Road at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. as snow falls Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Winston-Salem Journal, Lauren Carroll)

Pedestrians help a motorist after her car ends up facing the wrong way while trying to make it up the hill on Hawthorne Road at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. as snow falls Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Winston-Salem Journal, Lauren Carroll)

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Pedestrians support each other as they cross S. Elm St. during a snow storm, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 in Greensboro, N.C. As a third winter storm in as many days slammed into North Carolina, commutes that typically took minutes turned into hours-long ordeals. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state's 100 counties. (AP Photo/News & Record, Jerry Wolford)

Pedestrians support each other as they cross S. Elm St. during a snow storm, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 in Greensboro, N.C. As a third winter storm in as many days slammed into North Carolina, commutes that typically took minutes turned into hours-long ordeals. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state's 100 counties. (AP Photo/News & Record, Jerry Wolford)

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Snow plows clear Interstate 75/85 on the downtown connector while transportation and business grinds to a halt during a winter storm on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Atlanta. Across the South, winter-weary residents woke up Wednesday to a region encased in ice, snow and freezing rain, with forecasters warning that the worst of the potentially "catastrophic" storm is yet to come. (AP Photo/David Tulis)

The US north-east is preparing to be hit by a "catastrophic" ice storm that has already caused chaos across the usually mild south, with13 deaths being blamed on the treacherous weather.

The deadly storm crippled travel and cut put power to thousands of households in the US. More than 350,000 people are reportedly still without power.

Ice combined with wind gusts up to 30mph snapped tree branches and power lines. More than 200,000 homes and businesses lost electricity in Georgia, 130,000 in South Carolina and nearly 30,000 in Louisiana.

Residents in North Carolina and Virginia have been preparing for up to one foot of snow.

Now, areas between Washington DC and Boston are preparing for up to eight inches of snow overnight. The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned a band stretching from north-eastern Pennsylvania through New York State's Hudson Valley and into New England could see 10 inches of snow.

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: Snow falls in front of the U.S. Capitol building on February 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. The east coast was hit with a winter snow storm with the Washington area expecting up to 8 inches of snow before it ends.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: Snow falls in front of the U.S. Capitol building on February 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. The east coast was hit with a winter snow storm with the Washington area expecting up to 8 inches of snow before it ends. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 13: Snow falls in front of the U.S. Capitol building on February 13, 2014 in Washington, DC. The east coast was hit with a winter snow storm with the Washington area expecting up to 8 inches of snow before it ends. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

 

In a warning issued on Wednesday, the NWS described the storm across the south as "catastrophic, crippling and paralyzing".

Winter storm warnings and advisories were in place from Arkansas east to much of the Atlantic coast, the NWS added. The storm is expected to hit northeastern US within the next two days with up to 15 inches of snow.

"We definitely consider this to be a high-impact event, and we're definitely telling everyone to stay off the roads and stay inside as much as possible," said Carl Barnes, a weather service forecaster in Sterling, Virginia.

At least 12 deaths across 22 states from Texas to Maine were blamed on the weather conditions including three people who were killed when an ambulance careered off an icy Texas road and burst into flames.

Nearly 3,300 airline flights across the US were cancelled and forecasters warned of more than an inch of ice possible in places.

Forecasters described the storm in Atlanta as one of the worst to strike the city since 1973, but did not cause as much disruption as the 28 January storm, which many were unprepared for.

President Barack Obama declared a disaster in South Carolina and for parts of Georgia and the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was moving supplies to an emergency centre in Atlanta on Wednesday evening.

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Pedestrians support each other as they cross S. Elm St. during a snow storm, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 in Greensboro, N.C. As a third winter storm in as many days slammed into North Carolina, commutes that typically took minutes turned into hours-long ordeals. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state's 100 counties. (AP Photo/News & Record, Jerry Wolford)

Pedestrians support each other as they cross S. Elm St. during a snow storm, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 in Greensboro, N.C. As a third winter storm in as many days slammed into North Carolina, commutes that typically took minutes turned into hours-long ordeals. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state's 100 counties. (AP Photo/News & Record, Jerry Wolford)

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Pedestrians support each other as they cross S. Elm St. during a snow storm, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014 in Greensboro, N.C. As a third winter storm in as many days slammed into North Carolina, commutes that typically took minutes turned into hours-long ordeals. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting into Thursday covering 95 of the state's 100 counties. (AP Photo/News & Record, Jerry Wolford)

 

Additional reporting by Agencies

 

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