Winter storm turns sights on north
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The snow-and-ice storm that has shut down much of the South slowly rolled toward the Northeast on Tuesday, revealing a regional culture clash along the way.
Southerners seemed resigned to waiting out winter headaches such as slick roads and paralyzed airports. But people from Ohio to New York, who face up to a foot of snow in their third blast of winter in as many weeks, were already putting pressure on state and local governments to spare them from travel tangles and snow-choked roads.
Across the South, communities remained encrusted in ice and snow for a second straight day. Road crews fared little better than in the storm’s opening hours, owing mostly to their lack of winter equipment. Frustrated motorists sat idle on slippery pavement or moved at a creep. Millions of people just stayed home.
In Atlanta, which had only 10 pieces of snow equipment when the storm hit, officials planned to bring in nearly 50 more pieces — the most resources marshaled for a storm in a decade. Mayor Kasim Reed said backup supplies of salt and sand were on the way, too.
Mail delivery was restricted to just a few places because postal employees could not get to work. Many schools and other institutions planned to stay closed Wednesday out of caution. The storm has been blamed for 11 deaths and many more injuries.
Despite the inconvenience, Southerners confronted the aftermath with patience — and a certain amount of wonder.
Nobody seemed to be complaining much at Lookout Mountain near Chattanooga.
“It’s a once-in-a-decade event. There is no reason to prepare for it. It is not a wise spending of funds,” said Brent Taylor, an executive for the United Way who was pulling a sled carrying his 5-year-old daughters, Elise and Grace.
The South’s experience offered a preview of what’s in store for states from Ohio to New England, a region already tired of winter after digging out from two storms in recent weeks.
Those wintery blasts included a Christmas weekend blizzard that provoked anger in New York City and New Jersey over the slow cleanup.
New York City and its suburbs could get 8 to 14 inches of snow, with reduced visibility and wind gusts up to 35 mph, forecasters said. Long Island could get as much as 15 inches. In New England, forecasters were predicting up to a foot across most of Connecticut and the Boston area.
By Tuesday evening, widespread flight cancelations moved from the South into the Northeast and Great Lakes ahead of the storm.
But elsewhere, people seemed accepting, and in some cases cheerful, about canceling plans for school, work and errands.
The effects of the storm were likely to linger because continued cold temperatures will slow any melting, perhaps until the weekend.
The storm will also take an economic toll. North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said the state has already spent $26 million of the $30 million it set aside this fiscal year for storm-related cleanup expenses.
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