A White Christmas for Some in the Southeast

December 25, 2010; 5:43 AM
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A storm system getting set to charge northward along the East Coast later this weekend will impact the Southeast today, providing a white Christmas for some.

Chilly rain and a few thunderstorms will put a damper on holiday festivities for many along the Southeast and Gulf coasts. However, cold air diving southward will allow snowflakes to fly over the Ohio and Tennessee valleys into parts of the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama.

The heaviest snow through tonight will target a zone from far northeastern Alabama and eastern Tennessee into southwestern Virginia, where as much as 3 to 6 inches of snow could pile up. Even higher accumulations will be possible in the mountains of western North Carolina.

While not nearly as heavy, snow could still coat the ground as far south as Atlanta, Ga., and Birmingham, Ala.

Many will view the snow as a rare treat for Christmas, but the wintry weather will cause trouble for those traveling through the region today.

Roads will become snow covered and slippery, including along portions of Interstates 40, 24, 81, 77, 75 and 65. Farther south, a messy mix from northern Alabama into central North Carolina could still make roads slick and hazardous.

Travelers hoping to fly through the region will not fare any better. Hundreds of flights have already been cancelled throughout the region, most of which involved flights to or from Atlanta, and more cancellations are likely for airports across the region through tonight.

According to CNN, several airlines, including Delta, Continental, United, American and AirTran, are waiving penalties for those forced to change flights due to the winter storm this weekend.

During the second half of the weekend, the storm will sweep northward just offshore of the East Coast, piling disruptive snow along the I-95 corridor from the Carolinas to New England. The system could then unleash a paralyzing blizzard over New England late on Sunday into Monday.

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