Winter storm dumps snow on South, many lose power

February 20, 2012 - 12:25 AM
Winter Weather

Snow blankets Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va., on Sunday, Feb. 19, 2012. (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, Eva Russo)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A winter storm on Sunday dumped several inches of snow on a band of southern states, triggering accidents on slippery roads and knocking out power to tens of thousands.

The storm brought wet snow to parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

In northern Tennessee, about 20 vehicles were involved in crashes along a three-mile stretch of Interstate 75 near the Kentucky border on Sunday afternoon.

Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Stacy Heatherly said the crashes were reported shortly before 2 p.m. Sunday in near "white-out" conditions caused by heavy snowfall and fog. Police said a juvenile was seriously injured. All lanes of Interstate 75 had reopened by early evening.

Dozens of wrecks were also reported in North Carolina as snow, sleet and rain fell with little accumulation, according to The Winston-Salem Journal.

In Virginia, the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 were shut down following a two-vehicle crash that critically injured one man, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. The accident was reported at about 6:20 p.m. on I-95 near the interchange with Interstate 295 in Prince George County. The male driver of one vehicle suffered life-threatening injuries, and an adult male passenger in his vehicle was hospitalized.

Snow began sticking in the Richmond area after dark, and Virginia State Police had responded to about 350 crashes by early evening.

Appalachian Power was reporting that 52,000 customers were without power Sunday night in central and southern Virginia, as well as West Virginia. Light snow was also falling on some parts of the Washington, D.C., area.

National Weather Service meteorologist Nick Fillo in Blacksburg, Va., said 5 to 8 inches of snow had fallen in the Blue Ridge Mountains while about 3 to 6 inches had fallen on Virginia's Piedmont region.

"This was our first real winter storm," Fillo said.

The weather service said late Sunday that the snowfall was "diminishing in both intensity and coverage" and would come to an end early Monday. Temperatures were in the mid to upper 20s.

The storm system was expected to move off the Mid-Atlantic coast on Sunday night, sparing the rest of the Mid-Atlantic as well as the Northeast.

"It's moving out to sea," Fillo said.

He said a low-pressure system would be coming out of the Rockies this week, bringing snow to the Great Lakes area but not significantly affecting the South