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Southern United States Digs Out After Freak Storm
By Paul Simao
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Residents in several Southern U.S.
states woke up on Saturday to snow and freezing rain as a rare
winter storm swept through the region, snarling traffic,
canceling flights and complicating preparations for Sunday's
Super Bowl game.    
The storm, part of an unusual but nasty patch of winter
weather blanketing much of the Deep South, dumped up to a foot
and a half of snow in Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and
Tennessee and coated northern Georgia with freezing rain.    
Several weather-related deaths were reported.    
"We've been seeing a lot of traffic accidents through the
morning hours," said Ken Davis, public information officer with
the Georgia Emergency Management Agency in Atlanta.    
"We're telling people not to travel if they don't have to
and folks are beginning to heed our warnings to stay home."    
The storm touched down as thousands of fans prepared to
gather in Atlanta's Georgia Dome to watch the St. Louis Rams and
Tennessee Titans play for the National Football League
championship on Sunday.    
Although officials in Atlanta have expressed confidence
there would not be any major disruptions for fans arriving at
Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, at least one major
airline was not taking any chances. (DAL.N) canceled a number of its
Atlanta-bound flights on Friday night and said it would likely
have "a similar schedule" on Saturday into Atlanta, its main
Many Atlantans were still recovering from a severe ice storm
last weekend that knocked down trees and power lines, leaving
more than half a million people in northern Georgia without
Although utility companies scrambled to prepare for the
worst, officials reported only minor outages in the state.    
Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co. (SO.N) and one
of two major power companies in northern Georgia, put more than
4,000 workers on active duty this weekend. The company provides
electricity to about 1.8 million residents in the greater
Atlanta region.    
The company said it had relocated hundreds of workers
throughout Georgia to cope with potential problems.    
Despite fears bad weather could throw a monkey wrench into
Atlanta's carefully laid Super Bowl plans, city officials noted
last week's storm had pushed many visitors to schedule an
earlier arrival.    
The storm was expected to continue moving eastward into the
interior of North Carolina and other eastern coastal states.
North Carolina was battered this week by a heavy storm that
dumped up to 20 inches of snow on Raleigh.

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