ATLANTA – The Big Chill turned into the Big Dig on Saturday for many Southerners — the Americans who least expect to open their doors to see up to a foot of snow.
Some stayed indoors a day after the storm moved out to sea, while others turned icy streets and snow-covered parks into sledding playgrounds. Many who tried to dig out found shovels in short supply at home improvement stores.
Tens of thousands of people lost power in Texas and South Carolina, and thousands of others were left stranded by airline flight cancellations.
The National Weather Service says Dallas got 12.5 inches of snow, while Harkers Island, N.C., got 8.8 inches, Belleville, Ala., got 6 inches, Foreman, Ark., got 4 inches and Atlanta got more than 3 inches.
The weather was blamed for deaths in the Macon, Ga., and the Louisville, Ky., areas.
The worst appeared to be over — for now. But another dose of snow could roll through some parts of the region on Monday, when many workers will be off because of the President's Day holiday.
Folks in the Washington, D.C., area might be wondering what all the fuss was about, considering they got walloped by as much as 4 feet of snow from back-to-back storms earlier this month. The Virginia Poultry Federation says at least seven poultry houses in the Shenandoah Valley collapsed under the weight of snow during the latest round of storms. Herdsmen have had to tap their hay reserves to feed cattle snowed out of pastures.
But people who live further south aren't used to dealing with lots of snow, which made for treacherous driving conditions and forced many people to stay indoors. Supermarkets and post offices in Marietta, Ga., were practically empty around midmorning Saturday.
The snow was blamed for more than 1,500 car crashes, about 37,000 power outages and hundreds of canceled sports events across South Carolina, which saw 3 to 8 inches of snow in some parts of the state.
About 125,000 homes and businesses were without electricity in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, almost entirely due to trees buckling under the weight of snow and falling onto power lines. Utility crews were expected to be working throughout the weekend to restore power to the area.
A few hundred people were still without power in parts of Louisiana on Saturday morning — down from thousands on Friday. The weather made for a long weekend for some. Schools in many parts of the state closed on Friday and state government offices in 42 of Louisiana's 64 parishes closed early.
Power was back on for thousands of Mississippi electric customers who lost service due to snow and ice.
The airlines, too, had their hands full.
Airlines canceled nearly 1,900 flights on Friday. More flights were canceled Saturday due to weather. Delta Air Lines reported another 760 flight cancellations, while American Airlines reported 85 systemwide and US Airways reported 30 cancellations across its system. Other carriers were reporting near normal operations.
Despite it all, Southerners were trying to take all the snow in stride. Some even saw a silver lining.
"It's crazy in one sense, but it's beautiful for another for us," said Derek Hebert, owner of Lumberjack Tree Service in suburban Dallas, where business is hopping for landscapers and tree services.
"I hate to say that, but it's true. You gotta make hay while the sun is shining," Hebert said.
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