Snow slows or shuts down much of normally sunny Deep South

ATLANTA (AP) — Snowfall shrouding much of the Deep South began tapering off early Saturday, but freezing temperatures kept roads slick and thousands without electricity throughout the region while planes remained grounded at the world’s busiest airport.

Forecasters warned that moisture on the roadways could freeze and cause black ice to form. The National Weather Service said that while snow flurries would end by midday in areas including metro Atlanta, temperatures at or below freezing could cause transparent layers of thin ice to form on bridges and other elevated roadways.

The frigid temperatures behind a cold front combined with moisture off the Gulf of Mexico to bring unusual wintry weather to parts of the South.

Preliminary reports to the weather service showed up to 10 inches of snowfall in northwest Georgia, with 7 inches of accumulation in parts of metro Atlanta. Another 10 inches of snow was reported in Anniston, Alabama, while up to 7 inches were reported in Mississippi. Rare flurries were even reported in New Orleans.

“It’s very, very abnormal and rare that we would get totals like that this time of year,” said Sid King, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in the Atlanta area. “It’s really not even winter yet. I would not be surprised if we broke a lot of records.”