Gephardt Daily

Strong winter storm blasting south with ice, snow

Photo Courtesy: UPI

Jan. 3 (UPI) — A strong winter storm may blast parts of northern Florida and southeast Georgia with ice and snow and produce a heavy snowfall in South Carolina.

Officials issued storm warnings for parts of Florida and Georgia, the eastern Carolinas, southeast Virginia and the cities of Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington and Norfolk.

In Florida, it marked the first winter storm warning for Tallahassee in four years. The National Weather Service reported snow fell in the city Wednesday morning.

In Tallahassee, numerous vehicle crashes were reported and officials closed off about 55 miles of Interstate 10 in north Florida because of ice.

“We’re seeing some flurries,” Ricardo Humphreys, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tallahassee, told the Tallahassee Democrat. “There’s been freezing rain throughout the area, and that’s been the main issue with road closures and whatnot.”

The last time Florida’s capital got any measurable snowfall was in December 1989, when one inch fell.

“The last time we had measurable snow was 1989,” Humphreys said. “That’s pretty rare. “So we’ll see after all this is done whether get got any measurable snow anywhere.”

In Gainesville, Fla., the National Weather Service reported that a mix of snow, freezing rain and sleet was possible for about seven hours on Wednesday beginning at 3 a.m. Temperatures are expected to dip to 33 degrees.

Forecasters expect freezing rain and sleet to end as snow in parts of northern Florida and southern Georgia by mid-afternoon on Wednesday. Snow, sleet and freezing rain may increase in eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia by Wednesday afternoon.

Forecasters predict one to four inches of snow are in Georgia, while parts of eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia may see locally higher amounts that top 6 inches.

Parts of South Carolina could see 5 to 6 inches of snow.

Due to weather conditions, some airlines are allowing passengers to rebook flights without paying a cancellation fee –including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue and United Airlines as near-blizzard conditions are expected to blast through the eastern United States.