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

By Heather Saul

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.

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.

US Weather 090.jpg
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


Further reading:

Atlantic super-storm Darwin: More snow, floods and winds forecast for UK and Ireland as clean-up gets underway

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