JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A blast of winter weather gripped parts of the South on Sunday, coating bridges and roads with snow, sleet and freezing rain and causing hundreds of flight cancelations.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Alabama Gov. Bob Riley issued emergency declarations. Riley said workers had readied snow and salt trucks to help clear icy roads, and he asked all residents to stay home Sunday night and Monday unless necessary.
Mississippi officials warned motorists early Sunday that ice was already accumulating on roads and bridges in many counties, creating hazardous driving conditions.
Joanne Culin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jackson, Miss., expected the worst weather in Mississippi and Louisiana on Sunday and early Monday along the Interstate 20 corridor.
Northern parts of Mississippi could get 4 to 9 inches of snow, Culin said. The more dangerous conditions, however, were expected along I-20, because the precipitation was likely to be freezing rain and sleet.
Culin said the weather system could push into Alabama late Sunday and early Monday. Georgia and Tennessee were expected to get rain and snow by Sunday night.
Hundreds of flights were canceled at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport ahead of the icy weather.
Delta Air Lines canceled 330 flights starting about 8 p.m. Sunday and another 1,400 flights Monday. AirTran Airways spokesman Christopher White says the company has canceled 14 flights for Sunday and another 270 for Monday.
Both airlines are allowing passengers whose flights are canceled to change them without fees.
In Georgia, officials in charge of Gov.-elect Nathan Deal's inauguration canceled a Monday prayer breakfast and a celebration at Philips Arena because of the looming storm, though Deal was still scheduled to be sworn in Monday afternoon.
Georgia was expected to get up to 6 inches of snow. Forecasters say the storm could also bring sleet and freezing rain lasting into Tuesday.
In eastern Tennessee, the Weather Service said 4 to 6 inches of snow could fall by Sunday evening, with the heaviest snow falling early Monday.
In Alabama, Auburn University students will have to find somewhere other than campus to watch the Tigers play in the championship bowl game Monday. The university has canceled all viewing parties and other events planned as the state prepares for severe winter weather.
Associated Press writer Dorie Turner in Atlanta contributed to this story.
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