A winter storm bearing down on the Southeast with the possibility of snow, sleet and freezing rain is threatening to disrupt weekend travel and bring misery to millions.
Alabama and Georgia announced they were going on an emergency footing. Classes have been canceled across several states and motorists are being urged to avoid unnecessary weekend travel as crews rush to pre-treat roads that could be made treacherous by the storm.
Authorities said one person has died, a man whose pickup truck slid off a snow-covered road Thursday in Kentucky.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning for Friday and Saturday from eastern Alabama through north Georgia, including Atlanta, and into the Carolinas and part of Virginia.
Sleet began falling across central and northern Mississippi after dawn Friday.
Power crews from Alabama Power in Mobile will be heading north Friday to help in Montgomery. Depending on the end result of the storm, the crews could be dispatched throughout the state. Over in Baldwin County, 20 crewmembers from Baldwin EMC will be heading over to Jefferson, Ga. to assist the Jackson EMC.
Schools and colleges mostly opened Friday, but some are dismissing students early.
Some ice is sticking to the elevated interchange of Interstate 55 and Interstate 20 in Jackson that’s the heart of Mississippi’s highway system. “The Stack,” as it’s known locally, is notorious for icing in winter weather.
In Alabama, crews are working to prepare roads for the weather, but there is a way to monitor real time conditions on the road. ALGO Traffic provides live information from traffic cameras and live updates on roads from local law enforcement.
Farther north in the state, mostly snow is falling.
Some Mississippi suburbs of Memphis, Tennessee, reported 2 to 3 inches of snow by mid-morning.
Shipping giant FedEx says delays are possible for packages being delivered across the country Friday due to winter weather that has swept through its home base in Memphis, Tennessee.
The company posted a statement on its website saying FedEx Express experienced “substantial disruptions” at its Memphis hub overnight due to winter weather.
The company says “potential delays are possible for package deliveries across the U.S.” with a delivery commitment of Friday.
FedEx says it is “committed to provide service to the best of our ability.” The company uses Memphis International Airport to send packages from its hub by air.
Customers can check the status of their shipments on fedex.com, or they can go to FedEx Service Alerts. Customers also can also contact FedEx Customer Service.